Kernville is Kinda OK.

My first blog about Kernville wasn’t much of a blog, and I am feeling like I could do better. So before this week’s trip, I’ll give it another effort.

When I worked for the Sequoia National Forest I’m sure I said at least once a month I or someone would say “well, at least we aren’t Kernville,” or “it could be worse, we could be in Kernville,” or “dang glad we aren’t on our way to Kernville.” You get the point. We on the other part of the Sequoia and very thankful to not be dealing with “that” place.

But after retirement changes things. A lot of things, like where you want to be and where you don’t want to be.

When Keith said he wanted to go to the Audubon Reserve near Lake Isabella, and camp with Eggburt in Kernville, I did not say: “yuck.” In fact, I was upset at the idea of staying home instead of going along on the trip.

On the drive we saw waves of water in the Lower Kern river, very light traffic, blooming yuccas, and fields of violet wildflowers. We stayed at Rivernook RV Park, right on the Upper Kern River and as we sat below large old cottonwood trees, we watched the roaring river flow past our campsite.  The sound of the river wasn’t quite as tranquilizing as the rumble of ocean waves, but it is a close second. We walked to the brew pub for dinner and a pint of local beer, and later sat in the campground enjoying the evening air, the sound of the river, the trees, the breeze, and just being outdoors again. 

Thankfully we were there off season and had most of the place to ourselves. While Keith was out looking for the elusive blue headed grosbeak, I walked the campground taking photographs of cones and seeds and little stuff on the ground. It’s a thing I like to do these days, take photos of stuff on the ground.)

The Audubon reserve was flooded, but we took a sport drive from Kernville, on the Jawbone valley road to Butterbredt Audubon Preserve. It is a cottonwood tree equivalent of a palm oasis. Huge, beautiful, old cottonwoods surrounded by Joshua tree desert. The sandy wash was swimming with birds and life. Owls hooted, humming birds buzzed us, and willow flycatchers bobbed in an out of patches of willows. Walking out from under the cottonwoods was like walking from early dawn into high noon.  

The road in and out of Butterbredt isn’t for your Honda Civic, and reinforces the value of having a high clearance, all wheel drive sport vehicle. Jawbone Valley road was just enough of a challenge to feel like you are exploring someplace unusual. A short drive from Southern California sprawl, and we had the trail and the preserve all to ourselves.

Having time to slow down changes things, like yucky places are no longer yucky.


#kernville, #lakeisabella, #audubon, #birding, #cottonwood, #trees, #lake, #travels,