We took a weekend off – way off.
After my dad died, my stepmother stopped celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with us – to do things without my dad that she had done with him was just too painful. A few years after that we started looking for a new tradition, something we could do together that was new and different and would create new memories that weren’t painful.
The Ripple Creek Cabins are located on the Trinity River, about three-quarters of the way toward California’s northeast corner. My sister Sally, who lives in Arcata, found them years ago and about five years ago we congregated here. We’ve been here every year since, always for a long weekend in the fall when the leaves are turning and the air is getting crispy.
If you insist on Frette linens, this is not the place for you. The cabins range from small and rustic to medium-sized and rustic. They have tiny stoves and refrigerators, adequate kitchen equipment, reasonably comfortable beds, and a whole lot of knotty pine. Having grown up camping, we love it.
The gardens and landscaping are gorgeous, dogs are welcome, there are horses to pet and berries to pick and bikes to ride and a badminton court and ping pong table. It feels like it’s a million miles away from everything (even though it now has wi-fi, there’s still no cell service) and it’s run by the nicest people ever.
This year is bittersweet. My youngest sister Claire isn’t here – it’s just too far a drive with an energetic toddler, and we’re going to find something closer next year so we can all be together again. My oldest niece Melia isn’t here either – she’s in college now, and doesn’t have Columbus Day off, and it won’t be long til Linnea sets sail as well.
But even tinged with the sadness of missing them and knowing it may be our last trip here for a while, it’s still a gorgeous weekend in a gorgeous place. We read, talk, barbecue yummy meals, play ping pong, and drive 15 miles on a dirt road to find the trailhead for Adams Lake, where the trail is spiked by huge, unearthly mushrooms that we swear are larger on the way out than they were on the way in.
I collect branches to use as curtain rods at the Schoolhouse (for the record, I had this idea WAY before Real Simple showed a similar treatment with driftwood!) and my sisters enthusiastically share the car with them.
We also celebrate Linnea’s fifteenth birthday. Personally, I think the best present of all is that she still likes hanging out with us.