Mendocino Nat’l Forest: Lett’s Lake

Center map

Retired Ranger Jeff was right!

He told me it was a beautiful place and I have to agree wholeheartedly. While I don’t have a fishin’ pole with me, the lake is clearly a great place to be.

And, once again, I am entirely solo—there’s nary another camper at this site, with at least twice as many places to roost (could they know something I don’t?). Bears come to mind.

Each campsite is much larger than the ones at Dixie Glade. I’m as close as you can get to the lake, right next to an outhouse (don’t have to walk very far in the morning!), in space number ten.

A tell-tale sign:

That’s the one I was warned about by Diana at the U.S. Forest Service office when I first arrived. But, Jeff’s warnings about there being a single bump in the road with possible ice at the bottom were way off!

Oh, I am sure I found the one he was referring to but, this dirt road had, literally, hundreds of large bumps in the three mile trek through the trees, up and down, around and around with only the occasional Forest Road M-10 signs.

It reminded me of waiting for a decent wave while surfing! There were plenty of “road narrows” signs, too—and hillsides with snow!

I didn’t see a single soul on my way here and haven’t had a visit from a Ranger, either, at this campgrounds.

Lett’s Valley History

Oh, it’s a sad story! There’s a big bronze plaque that tells the story of the Lett brothers, Jack and David, who in 1855 settled this land and labored on building a drainage system by digging a tunnel, now the site of the lake spillway.

But, twenty two years later, in 1877, they got into a fight with some people who tried to jump their claim and settle on their land. Jack and Dave lost that fight and were killed—on this very spot the campground occupies today, so the story goes.

The forecast called for a morning frost and Jack Frost delivered—you can clearly see the mountain range on the other side of the lake has snow on it, most likely from two nights ago.

So much for being a Boy Scout!

There was plenty of abandoned fire wood scattered around, left behind by previous campers so, I gathered up a bunch of it and carried it to my little campfire ring.

I had thought that having a raging fire for a couple days would be pretty nice to have—and I prepared like a good Boy Scout, collecting quite a number of dried logs, already nicely chopped!

But, wouldn’t you know it: even armed with fire in the form of a long barbeque lighter, I could not get my fire started! I used some dried out leaves, covered with small slivers of wood I had also gathered for kindling, stacked them up like they taught us to back at the old Troop 16 homestead, Seneca Camp.

Turning in my Merit Badge.

I worked on getting a fire started for two hours! I tried multiple ignition points. I tried rearranging the kindling. I tried making a fire ball and blowing on it to get a flame going like Les Stroud teaches on Discovery Channel’s “SurvivorMan.” Every effort I made to have my warming fire fizzled out.

I am a failure at fire.

Donald Trump was here?

So, I went for a little walk, over to the fishing dock where my new friend at the Stonyford Library, retired Ranger Jeff, most likely caught that trout of which he was so proud.

I suppose it’s genetic for humans to carve names, dates or proclamations of love into anything you can carve something into. And what did I find? “Donald Trump” carved into the fishing dock—with an orange-haired stump nearby—no doubt the spot where he delivered a speech to the fish!

OMG! Payment envelopes!

And I finally know what a payment envelope looks like! I did my duty and filled out the information (arrival/departure dates, site number, Lifetime Senior Pass number) and wrote out a check for five dollars (that’s $2.50 a day with the pass!).

It really is beautiful, this lake with the mountains off in the distance.

I’ve decided to stay until Sunday—when my spring water for making coffee runs out.

Happy trails my friends!

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