Thoughts, ideas and memories of photography, cooking & the outdoors (not in that order!)

And so it begins…

The trip started off with a revisit to Carrizo Plains for a few days to see more of the place; while the weekend trip was nice, we only saw a small portion.  It did not let down!  There were many beautiful covered fields and hillsides that are certainly worth a visit.  Beyond the flowers, other items of memory included being woken up in the middle of the night to a pack of howling coyotes, and what sounded like squeals from some prey.  Midnight kill perhaps?  Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have issues falling back asleep.

There was an amazing sunrise one morning and some interesting salt formations on the dried lake bed.  Also, visiting the Caliente Ridge is totally worth a detour, I’m glad I followed the tip from a fellow photographer – there are some hillsides with an even more diverse array of flowers then the Temblors.  However rain was in the forecast, so I made sure that I left well before it arrived…  many of the roads in the place are impassible in wet weather as they turn to deep mud.

After that, I debated on the next location.  Death Valley was an option, especially if the system was strong enough to push precipitation over the Sierras, but no such luck there. Instead, I decided that the Eastern Sierras would be interesting with the approaching storm.  Headed east, I took the scenic route up 178 through Isabella Lake.  Quite a drive. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Joshua trees and what I think were cholla in the Chimney Peak wilderness area.

Thinking it would be fun to camp in the Alabama Hills, which normally it would be, except for the approaching storm.  What I had thought was a well-sheltered campsite and a secure tent proved me wrong as the winds that whipped up nearly exploded my evening domicile.  I’m shocked the tent escaped without any visible damage.  Poles are not supposed to bent that way… Go REI!  Thankfully I had already finished dinner and packed up the supplies by that point, so I took it down quickly and retreated to a lower point for the evening…  but wishing the entire time that I had brought my nearly bomb-proof Anjan 2.

This morning I decided to swing by the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest out of curiosity.  It was a fascinating drive going up the mountain as the weather turned worse with fog and snow moving in.  The road beyond the vista point was closed and a sign said “easy 2 mile hike to the Schulman Grove.”  I had snowshoes but think I wanted a break, besides it would be difficult to see much with visibility only a few dozen feet.  Definitely a spot to return to once this system blows through.  Maybe a visit to Schat’s would be a better idea in the interim…

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