Friday, July 13, 2007

Finally, I got a camera that works!

I'm actually pretty impressed with this picture: it's a tiny little 9-inch rainbow trout swimming along the shore of Long Lake, in the Little Lakes Valley.

I left for California at about 8:30, just as the sun was going down, and made it all the way to the White Mountains without stopping, where I slept by the turnoff for Schulman Grove. Check out the view of the Sierras from up here!

I got into Bishop, got a mocha from Looney Bean (which I promptly splashed onto my white sweatpants), and headed up the road a ways to Rock Creek Lake and the Little Lakes Valley.

This is the third time I've done this hike, and it is still just about the prettiest place I have ever been. I actually hiked the whole way to Chickenfoot Lake, about 3/4 mile farther than Long Lake, seen here, where I had never been before.

I got back into Bishop and returned to the Looney Bean, where I chatted with Tyson for a while before taking the kayak up to Lake Sabrina.

The weather was clear, and the lake was so pretty. The last time we were here, the dam had just been rebuilt, and the water was still very low, but now it was full and gorgeous--even prettier than South Lake. Unfortunately, my camera was acting cranky, and I was unable to take pictures that day.

I slept in the car at the pack station about a mile from the trailhead to Paiute Pass, fully intending to make the 5.5-mile trek in the morning, but totally punked out. It was just too cold to crawl out from under my blanket until about 9:30! Imagine that! Too cold to get out of bed! It was delicious.

On Monday, instead of hiking the pass, I was feeling lazy, and I couldn't really settle on anything to do. I went up to Mammoth and drove around in the mountains, thinking about reading a book by one of the lakes, but (this is mildly embarrassing) I couldn't find them. I'd remembered driving right by about 6 little lakes the last time I was out this direction, but didn't have any real luck just stumbling across them, and I didn't feel like the concentrated effort finding out how to get there would take.

Instead, I ate a fresh churro from Schat's and found a coffee shop with wi-fi and chatted with Tyson for a while. Then I drove aimlessly back to Bishop, got myself a motel room, and lived like a hedonist for the rest of the afternoon, taking a hot shower and watching Lifetime in the air-conditioning. For dinner, I ate at this place called the Petite Pantry where I had the best chile verde and apricot pie ever.

On Tuesday, I went back up to Sabrina, where I actually got some pics; there was a front coming in and it was overcast. There are some really nice beaches around the lake, and if it had been warmer out, the water would have been perfect for swimming.

Finally, I started back towards home, but this time I drove the 20 extra miles down to the Schulman Grove and the Bristlecone Forest. There, a 4.3-mile hike takes you down the ridge and into a valley where there are trees that were old when the Roman Empire was young. Methusulah, the oldest, is more than 4300 years old. Pieces of dead wood more than 8600 years old have been found there. (Interestingly enough, it is this 8600-year tree record that helped scientists make necessary adjustments to carbon-14 dating, allowing them to be much more accurate. In case you were wondering.)

One day, I will get a giant tattoo of a bristlecone pine covering my whole back, that's how much I like these trees. So you can get an inkling of my intense disappointment, anger, and frustration when my camera stubbornly decided it wasn't taking pictures anymore. I came very close to chucking the damn thing off the side of the mountain until I remembered I'd just have to go and get it if I wanted to take it back.

After the hike, I drove home. It was unexciting, except for a quick stop in Beatty for peanut-butter-cookie ice cream and dried mango slices.

No comments: