18 July 2012

Yuba River and Watermelon Salad

After my one week back in the fog belt of San Francisco, I wanted out.  I wanted sunshine and hot weather, swimming and tank tops, a couple of evenings spent outside in the balmy night air while nursing a beer and swatting the mosquitos, or at least watching other people sip beer while I swat the bugs and take the occasional nip from Noah's bottle while ignoring his disapproving stare.  For a taste of what most of the country is experiencing right now, we headed up to the Yuba River with some friends from LA.

Yuba is a fantastic river located in the Sierra foothills.  It's far enough off the beaten path that it's not a big tourist destination or favorite with day-trippers.  The clothing optional and somewhat intense vibe of the place may also keep some people away.  One of the most memorable things I've ever seen was after a day on the river - it was a completely naked woman with hair down to her waist and a huge python wrapped around her neck and body.   I briefly wondered if it was some sort of heatstroke induced mirage but I'm pretty sure it was the real deal.  Personally though, I've always  enjoyed the anything goes feel of Yuba, and really love the several miles of aquamarine swimming holes.  

We squatted on BLM land Friday night.  Being seven months pregnant, I was a little concerned that camping might not be too comfortable but with a couple of pillows, I slept like a baby - only waking up once every couple of hours or so.  After spending a day on the river, we headed to Full Belly farm to stay with some family on Saturday night.  While Noah went boar hunting, I hung out on the porch, listening to the crickets, peeking at the stars, and talking with friends.  On Sunday we went swimming again, this time in Cache Creek.  The river really flows during the summer months because of all the water released for irrigation so we walked up to a launch point and let the currents take us downstream for about 1/2 a mile or so.  

I love it when I have a two-day weekend that feels longer than a 5-day work week.  I love it when I get to spend days with some of my dearest family and friends.  These weekend trips are all the more precious to me now, because I know in a two months they won't be as easy.  Still possible, but they will require a bit more planning, a little more packing, and balancing the needs and wants of three people instead of two.

The recipe I'll leave you with this week is really simple - I'm almost embarrassed to call it a recipe.  It's a classic combination of three ingredients - watermelon, feta, and mint.  Simply chop the melon and mint, and mix together.  Crumble feta on top right before serving.  It's the perfect warm weather salad.   


Purdon Crossing at Yuba

Full Belly farm

Watermelon salad (feta not yet added)

Full Belly Farm

Breaking down camp on Saturday morning
Family Portrait

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