EASTERN SIERRAS-LAND OF BEAUTY/ADVENTURE

52988-arch2.jpgLONE PINE

Traveling north, you know the fun has begun when you reach Lone Pine via Highway 395.  The jagged Sierras loom, crowned by Mt. Whitney.  From here short rides up mountain roads take you to cool temps, raging falls, blue skies, dramatic cliffs, fish-filled lakes and streams, and lush forest.

At the foot of the incline lies the Alabama Hills, an area of jumbo rocks where hundreds of movies have been filmed.  If the area seems familiar, you have probably viiewed it in the background of a western or sci fi movie.  Above is an arch, easily reached by a short trail

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There are dozens of arches in the Alabama Hills, but it often takes a keen eye to spot them.  And watch out for the Tremors.

PORTALS

A SHORT RIDE from Lone Pine up the switchback road of The Long Long Trailer fame takes you to Whitney Portals.  Here is where hikers park their cars and start their ascent to the peak of Mt. Whitney.  The Portals store serves burgers, beer and sweet potato fries…the necessities for fishing in the Portals pond.

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So many movies and commercials have been filmed in the area, that the town now has a movie museum.  On Thursday nights free movies are shown in the auditorium featuring films shot in the area.  Whether it is a western or Star Trek, the background is very familiar!

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Hailey checks out the tremor monster, from the movie filmed in the Alabama Hills, starring Kevin Bacon (above).  And she bravely climbs up the Lone Pine monster (below).

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East of

 Lone Pine runs the Owens River, fishable year round.  Alan was reminded of his childhood when hooked a “blue gill.”

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MC GEE CREEK, LAKE CROWLEY AREA

The sound of the creek rushing behind our campsite was background music for the entire time.  One morning we spied hot air balloons rising from the valley floor.  Alan and Holiday took off in chase to photograph this picturesque event.  Selecting the few following pictures from the dozens they snapped was difficult.

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Even an ultra lite got in on the fun:

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Back at camp at the McGee Creek campground, we enjoyed the usual camping activities: conversations around the campfire, eating, drinking, fishing, eating, drinking, eating, drinking

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53017-MGHans.jpgHANS

MANS THE

BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JOE SHOWS OFF

HIS CATCH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROB & JOE

GET FISH

CLEAINING

DUTY

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GRAND PRIZE RESULT OF CATCHING FISH (below) HAILEY SHOWS OFF THE TROUT CAKES WE PREPARED. THERE ARE RECIPES ON LINE FOR TROUT CAKES, OR USE YOUR FAVORITE CRAB CAKE RECIPE AND SUB TROUT.  I MICROWAVED THE TROUT, SCRAPED OFF ALL THE MEAT AND SEARCHED THOROUGHLY FOR ERRANT BONES.  THE RESULT:  DELISH!

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53021-haileycakes2.jpgTrue, we had the luxury of a trailer to cook the cakes, but they can also be fried in butter in a skillet on a camp stove or over the campfire.  Serve with tartar sauce.

 

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(Above) – Alan cooks giant Costco shrimp on the barbie!

 

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Near camp is a little zoo.  We enjoyed petting the alpaca, sheep, mini bull, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The wooliest sheep we ever saw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at camp we welcomed the Fish & Game guy who stocks the rivers with fish. 

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A trek up to Convict Lake landed a few more fish and a lovely afternoon around the beautiful lake and surrounding dynamic scenery. 

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There is lots to see and explore in the area.  We drove to Mono Lake and stopped in to the visitor center and the Save Mono Lake Committee Headquarters.   Alan and Hailey hiked around the obsidian mountain where they studied samples of the rock which Indian’s carved into arrowheads and other tools.

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Even visited the Upside Down Cabin of Lee Vining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove up the highway which crosses the Sierras from East to West, delivering travelers to Yosemite.  However, it was closed at the ranger’s booth, some 9,500 feet up the pass, due to snow.  Our favorite lake, Tioga Lake, was all snow and ice.  We watched as a few young men climbed up the mountain and skied down

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Before heading south back to Lone Pine we camped a night at Benton Crossing.  This is the most soothing campground with its lush green grasses, meandering Owens River (stocked with fish), screaming terns, white pelicans, brilliant yellow-headed blackbirds and a magnificant view of the Sierras.  At night the frogs croaked with gusto, and on top of all that, we were lucky to have a glorious full moon.  The Benton Crossing Campground can probably be miserable in hefty winds or severe weather, but we enjoyed perfect conditions.

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Home bound, we spent two more nights in Lone Pine at the Boulder Creek RV Park – with its beautiful view of the valley and the Sierras.  It is located about 2 miles south of town and has a pool and jacuzzi.  Nearby is Diaz Lake which is now under renovation and promises to be a good place to camp in the near future.  The only consolation on our 4 hour drive home from Lone Pine was knowing that we will visit again later this summer.  My favorite time of year to visit is late September when the cottonwoods turn red and gold, the temperature cools and crowds disappeared.   

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