By LEN ACKERMAN
THE BACKPACKERS' Literary Guild, made up of educators Carl Brownless, Mike Calbert, Mitch Heldstab, Mike Kubasek, and Carl Murry, has returned from its eighth annual trip into the wilderness.
This year's trip turned the backpackers into kayakers for a week on Spicer Meadow Reservoir. The group wanted to test how individual kayaks would handle backpacking gear for an entire week. They were pleasantly surprised at the large amount of gear accommodated and the ease of paddling with a full load.
About two-thirds of Spicer does not allow motorized vehicles, so the wilderness experience is preserved for those entering by kayak or canoe. But one must be aware of the strong winds that blow up Highland Creek Canyon in the afternoon, making paddling a difficult task.
The kayakers explored the lake in the mornings, but thunder and lightning forced them back to camp most afternoons. One fair weather day was spent hiking and fishing Highland Creek above the inlet. Mixed limits of rainbows and brook trout were caught, providing some excellent meals.
Fishing on the main lake proved difficult as the warm surface water has sent the fish deep. A few rainbows were caught trolling from the kayaks. Also, the campers observed three active osprey nests and saw that the adult birds had no trouble getting their limits of trout to feed the fledglings.
The evening sunsets radiated off the Dardanelle Cones, painting the surrounding clouds with a spectrum of red, pink, yellow and orange. Books for the camp discussions were: Guns, Germs, and Steel: A Fine Balance; Where the Heart Is; The Poems of Robert Service; and Empire Falls. Recipients of this year's Backpackers Literary Guild scholarships were Kristi Calbert of Sonora High School and Adam Artzer and Daniel Atkins of Summerville High School.
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Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties