Kangaroo Lake and Fran
07/16/2013 | CALLAHAN, CA
While in the pursuit of provisions and local swimming hole intel/knowledge deep in the Mythical State of Jefferson, we (Greg Johnson, David Marchi, Moi Medina and Daniel Wakefield Pasley) visited the Callahan Emporium, a bar & quasi-grocery occupying a building originally built-in 1858 to house, incidentally/apparently, the first Wells Fargo in the area. There we met Fran, the establishment’s owner/operator. After a few drinks and some lite chit-chat we started asking her about local Swimming Holes, a somewhat touchy subject in a water-rich rural area famous for it’s recent anti-federalist separatism tendencies, Gold Rush past (and present), and illegal/hidden/dangerous marijuana operations. The locals are suspicious to the point of xenophobia. However Fran, who was as nice and welcoming as homemade pie, openly confirmed that Kangaroo Lake (our immediate next stop) was, in fact, an excellent Swimming Hole: “That’s where you hop back to heaven.” She introduced us to her her dog who she keeps in an office in the back, showed us a large gold nugget that was legally and locally prospected out of one of the area’s many amazing rivers and we discussed a genuine Miner’s Canary Cage she kept hanging on the paw of a mounted to the wall behind the counter of her bar.
”I know all sorts of swimming holes around here, places with waterfalls that fall into clear blue holes, but all the best ones are on private land—and no they’re not growing weed, they’re just regular ranchers. I’m sworn to secrecy. Nobody wants the word to get out because before you’d know it there’d be 80,000 people trespassing on their land. And nobody wants 80,000 strangers in their hole.”