I used to think that doing those fun things we do in North Carolina here in California was like squeezing blood from a stone. But more and more, I’m finding good swimming holes with cold, clear water and killer jumping rocks. Sunday was like the convergence of homes. I love Hallie and Cameron bigger than the sky. Cameron organized a trip to Yuba Gap and Hallie drove. Passengers in tow included Max (Alex Harris’s brother), Fenna, Leah and myself. An epic adventure indeed.

First off, thank you Hallie for driving all twenty-seven hours or however long that took.

And secondly, thank you for the Izzie or whatever those bottled beverages are called.

As organized as he is, Cameron was a little off with the directions. But what’s three-and-a-half hours in a car between close friends?

Everyone got full meals from the hot bar at Safeway. I could only find Tropical Dots. Have you ever had Tropical Dots? They are a flavor explosion of gummy goodness.

Wildberry cocktail.

Lots of Dots, a little backtracking and some amazing CD mixes and we were here. Yuba Gap. Time to swim.

We trekked down the river to a more secluded spot with rocks to jump off of.

River shoes.

Hallie couldn’t wait and had to eat her fried chicken along the trail.

Fenna came out of no where with this glamorous looking bathing suit. She says it’s made by Speedo and fully functional, but I think she had the Gucci model thing going.

Hallie, however, was wearing her underwear from the night before and a top that was two sizes to small. She was falling out all over the place.

BFF jump No. 1.

Cameron’s dive was decent.

Hallie’s dive was, um, . . . . bad. So much for no splash. She entered the water like a falling ‘V’.

And my dive: just like a swan.

Hallie also tried her first vampire grab. She’ll get it one day.

I was going to save this one for the fashion spread, but oh well.

Some of us napped and others of us continued down the river to the bigger jump.

While we were eating hummus and chips that Max swam across the river, Fenna jumped in the water and got sucked under a rock. We thought she was going to die and she really thought she was going to die. We saw the current spit her out a few seconds later with a look of terror on her face. Thanks for not dying, darling.

Cameron consoled her through her first ever panic attack.

And like a true Southerner, she got up on that goddamned rock and defied death once again.

Mandatory vamp shot.

Which gave me a killer wedgie.

I love this photo. I love Cameron.

I love Hallie. She claims to be coming to NC with me in August to engage in similar activity. Y’all better hold her to it.

What? It’s functional.

Summer skin. It’s not over.

Near-death experience No. 2. Cameron, Leah and I were looking for a way to get back without fording the river. Hire the Indian you say? Well this ain’t Oregon trail. Cameron thought he could maybe sidle across a steep sloping rock so he wouldn’t get the bags wet.

He thought wrong and slide down that rock falling into the water and a pile of other rocks. All with a knife between his teeth and a bag full of bottles and personal electronic devices. See all the leaves he took down with him.

The melon broke, a beer bottle broke, the camera got soaked, but Cameron survived. We all saw it happen and ended up laughing about it for the next half-hour.

Hallie with a flick of her locks.

I really wanted to eat the melon, but it was soaked in river water. Maybe there would be a Tropical Dot or two stuck between the seats in the car instead.

Hallie believes in the healing power of smooth stones.

I always have to walk along these things. I just can’t help it.

Who wouldn’t give this one a ride?

We listened to such good songs on the way back. Hightlights included Cyndi Lauper’s “When You Were Mine,” Mountain Goats’ “Going to Georgia,” Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s “Eagle and the Hawk” and everything Springsteen. Also the Cold War Kids might be my favorite new band thanks to Hallie.

They had to stop at In-N-Out Burger. I simply enjoyed the sunset.

Squeaky swings and tall grass
The longest shadows ever cast
The water’s warm and children swim
And we frolicked about in our summer skin