Summer in SF is all about escaping the fog and one of our favorite escapes is camping along the American River. It’s secluded, serene, and imbued with California history. A perfect escape for the cocktail camper who enjoys a libation in a locale that is both beautiful and historic. Plus, the fly-fishing for wild trout is excellent!
From 1848-1855, the American River had a starring role in the California Gold Rush. During that time, 300,000 “forty-niners” made arduous, often dangerous, journeys from the East Coast, Latin America, and China to claim their riches in gold. While some individuals did become rich, most did not. Men and women spent their lives along the American River enduring hardship, violence, disease, and death with little to show for their efforts. Today, the American River makes a delightful week-end trip for the cocktail camper.
(Check out the excellent book, The Age of Gold by H.W. Brand, to learn more about the California Gold Rush.)
One recent week-end Brian and I loaded up the Highlander with our favorite gear, foods, and cocktails but no trip to the American River is complete without a stop at Ikeda’s Country Market in Auburn, CA. The Ikeda family carries the freshest summer fruit direct from their own orchards. Peaches, nectarines, and plums straight from the tree always give me that extra-special summer feeling.
The American River is one of the finest in the state for fly-fishing. Wild rainbow and brown trout abound and the river’s accessibility make it an excellent fishing spot. (To learn more about fishing and enjoying the American River visit: www.theamericanriver.com)
Brian has been fly-fishing since he was 11 years old. He is an expert fisherman and it’s the rare day he doesn’t catch a fish. I am still learning though no stranger to “cast, drift, set” as they say in fly-fishing parlance. (Translation: I caught two fish on my own.)
In fly-fishing live bait is not used but rather tiny, artificial flies. You must release all the fish you catch. This means the fish are beautiful, healthy, and often marked by scars from previous “man vs. fish” battles.
Of course, no day along the river would be complete without a cocktail and nothing says warm weather like rum punch. We created our own punch: coconut rum and pineapple juice over ice. It definitely needed some tweaking (and a blender) but we enjoyed it by our river view nonetheless.