Bathing with cows and other small pleasures

It’s been a fairly quiet couple of days for us.  Sometimes we feel like seeing everything and doing it all, but lately, we’ve preferred the more sedate options.  I have to remember that we’re not really “on vacation”, but just living our lives in a new way.  If I were on vacation, I would want to do everything there is to do in a place and just keep moving all the time.  But, we would be exhausted if we spent all our non-working time like that.

Sunday, we searched out the natural hot tubs in the Mammoth Lakes area.  There’s a range of tubs on BLM land, ranging from very small ones for only a couple, up to a more swimming pool size. We went to the Wild Willies, fairly large pools with good views of the surrounding mountains.

No bushwacking required…just follow the boardwalk!

This is, however, open rangeland, so mind the cattle. (Who came and stared at us in the tub!)

About knee deep and a bit warmer than bathwater. Felt great!

While we were bathing, we met a 20-something guy who was on a road trip from Portland back to North Carolina.  William was lamenting only having a finite time to travel before he had to get another job.  We talked with him about what we’re doing, and how we are incorporating work and travel in a loop.  We had a lot in common, and when I mentioned a hike we wanted to do, he was so interested that we invited him along.  We walked along Hot Creek, which is lined with little vents allowing boiling hot water to escape.  It was fun to meet someone that we could advise….crazy that after only a couple months of this lifestyle, we have things to share with other pre-nomadic people!

Monday, we decided to explore the area behind the campground.  Between the slow rising slopes from the valley and the majestic Sierras are the Buttermilks foothills.  One of the hills had a clear path up it, and it looked so darn close.  (Note the foreshadowing!)   Here’s a little piece of mountain advise: those suckers are *big*, and distances can be deceiving!  We spent the entire morning working our way to the hill, struggling up it, and then skirting the valley and crossing creeks to get back home.  In other words, we had a marvelous time!

Just a wee little hill!

Because of this relic, we dubbed it “Dead Oven Trail”.

Do you see those eensy-weensy white dots in the center? That’s where we came from!

This creek was meltwater from mountain snow up above us. It was dang cold!

Yesterday we moved about 25 miles north, to Crowley Lake Campground, another $5/night BLM campground that’s practically empty and has great lake views.  We also finally encountered fall.  Highs at the last campground averaged about 85, and lows were about mid-50s.  We have gained 2000 feet of altitude, and we’re in another climate. We expect to see temperatures around 35-65 here.  Brrrrr!

Like I said, distance. Those mountains are 15 miles away!

We poked around the small town of Lake Crowley, and found the best little library I’ve ever seen.  And of course we had to go see the lake.

Something strange about a sailboat in the mountains….

We spent a rather unsettling night with very high winds.  Nothing high enough to harm us, but it made a lot of noise and constantly rattled the RV.  This morning is much calmer, and we expect good weather for hiking and exploring.

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