Photos by Loretta
I know. You've been wondering, "Where the heck are they?"
We are, and have been in California.
The Golden State.
Traveling up the eastern Sierras on Hwy. 395.
The locals call that spring. I call it torture.
Our first stop in California was in the San Diego area at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park. Other than being in the flight path of jets landing at the San Diego airport, it was a nice campground and good base for exploring the area. While there, we spent time checking out the various beaches, our favorite of which had to be Ocean Beach.
|Free Spirits at Ocean Beach|
|Amazing Beach Art at|
We also got in a couple of days of bike riding on the Bayshore Bike Trail and Mission Bay Trail.
|Biking Along the Silver Strand|
Henry took full advantage of the surrounding mountains and trails, getting in several good hikes, including one along the Pacific Crest Trail out to Eagle Rock.
Next, we moved up to the eastern Sierras along Hwy. 395, with our first stop outside the town of Lone Pine at Tuttle Creek Campground.
Looking at Mt. Whitney
This campground has no hookups, but sits at the base of the mountains, with in-your-face views of the snow capped Sierra Nevadas. Oh, and with our senior pass, this campground cost $4 a night! This was the first place we were able to use our new portable solar panels to keep our batteries topped off and it performed flawlessly.
|The Beautiful Sierra Nevadas|
This area has some of the best hiking anywhere. Whitney Portal was just down the street where most folks end their hike of the famous 221 mile John Muir Trail. (This one is on Henry's bucket list.) This is also the location of the Mt. Whitney Trail to the top of the highest peak in the lower 48.
|Trailhead to Highest Point in US Lower 48|
|Lone Pine Lake Up The Mt Whitney Trail|
Nearby is the Alabama Hills. This unique boulder filled area is most famous for being the filming location of many movies, including over 100 westerns. We learned a lot about this at the little museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine.
|The Alabama Hills|
Where Early Westerns were Filmed
|The Last of the Singing Cowboys|
|The Lone Ranger|
Next, we moved up Hwy. 395 to the town of Bishop for a few nights. While here, we made a day trip to the ancient bristlecone pine forest. These are the oldest living trees on earth, with some reported to be over 4,000 years old! They have a very nice looking visitor center there that we would have liked to check out, but for some reason, it was closed.
|Ancient Bristlecone Pine Visitor Center|
Among the Ancient Bristlecone Pines
While in Bishop, we stopped off at the Mountain Rambler Brewery for a tasty beer and lunch.
Moving further up Hwy. 395, we spent 8 nights dry camping at Oh! Ridge campground on beautiful June Lake.
Here, within easy driving range, was Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake and Yosemite!
Mono Lake is an important nesting area for many birds. We learned about how Mono Lake was being depleted quickly as a water source for Los Angeles before some people with common sense formed the Mono Lake Committee. They were able to negotiate an agreement with L.A. that has allowed the water level of the lake to slowly rise again, while still supplying some water to the city.
from High Above
|Mono Lake, Tufas and Mountains|
|Tufas in Mono Lake|
The Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite had just opened for the season a week or so before we arrived in the area. We had never entered the park from this westernmost side, but we remedied that with several trips into the park.
|Tioga Pass Entrance|
Most of the services (campgrounds, visitor center, lodge and store) were still in the process of opening for the season. This seemed to temporarily keep the throngs of tourists away, which made for some less crowded exploring of this part of the park. We took advantage and spent a few days hiking and just enjoying the magnificent beauty of Yosemite.
|Hiking to May Lake|
Yes, that's snow in June!
|May Lake in June|
We topped off one day with a visit to the Whoa Nellie Deli. This unassuming gas station/gift shop/restaurant serves up some mighty tasty chow after a long day in the park. Great cold local craft beers on tap, too, all with a view overlooking Mono Lake.
|Whoa Nellie Deli for the Belly|
Moving further up Hwy. 395, we spent a few days at Washoe Lake State Park, which is actually in Nevada. This was another scenic campground with no hookups located between Carson City and Reno. We used this campground as a base to explore Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and with a depth of 1,645 feet, it's the second deepest in the USA after Crater Lake in Oregon. There's no doubting the beauty of Lake Tahoe, but it was a bit too crowded and touristy for us.
That gets us mostly up to date on our travels so far this summer. We have gotten a little lax on updating the blog, but gee, we're kinda busy having fun!
|Rolling on Down the Scenic Highway|