Before we arrived at our summer job, I poured over maps of the Eastern Sierra, planning our attacks on the million glorious canyons that would surround us. About every 10 miles along Highway 395, you pass yet another cleft into the steep mountains, with miles of trails begging to be discovered. We have now been here for about 2 months, and besides the one trip to pick up the PCT hikers, we have spent every weekend just exploring our own backyard. And still, we keep learning about hikes that aren’t on any official map, but lead to remote, pristine lakes and sweeping views, with none of the crowds. Those far-off trails in other canyons still beckon, but we’re having too much fun right here to venture out beyond our own canyon until we see what surrounds us!
Last weekend we tackled Tamarack Lakes Trail–a bit longer than most around here at 12 miles round trip, and known for a complete lack of the normal Rock Creek Canyon crowds. It starts right by Rock Creek Lake, quickly gaining altitude to grant pretty water views. The hiking trail joins with an old wagon trail for about a mile, and then veers off into a series of high meadows and little ponds. We saw one of the volunteer Forest Rangers on the trail, who wished us luck on our trip, and warned us that the last mile was an unforgiving climb. Just before that last grade, threatening clouds began to amass, and rain came down. We were so close, so we decided to forge on, until it started to thunder and hail. We never even saw lightening, so we had a quick lunch under an overhang, and then dashed the final 1/2 mile for just a glimpse of the lakes. As soon as we saw them, we ran down the canyon searching for warmer weather. (I realize that I need to plan for a broader range of weather conditions, even if we start off in summer temperatures!) On the way back, we came into view of the mountains that surround the resort, and saw that they were completely snow covered. (July seems to be a very nebulous concept around here, as we then proceeded to get snow and hail for the next 2 days. It was 38 degrees at noon this past Thursday!) It was an amazing hike, and one that we could walk to from our own house!
And there still are oodles of trails for us to try out every weekend! I like to take the path that leads along Rock Creek and tumbles its way down to join the Owens River in the valley below. I can access it right across the road from the resort, and be in another world in just minutes, to enjoy some relaxing before or after work.
I recently took a closer look at a picture that’s hanging at the resort. It’s a photo of a really big snow year that the owners took during the times that they used to stay at the resort year round. Everything is so obscured by the white stuff that I didn’t even realize what I was looking at!
It’s been a party-filled week. We celebrated our co-worker Kristin’s birthday earlier, and tonight, we are having burgers, tater tots, slaw and JJ’s famous brownies to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary!
We will take this show on the road next weekend as we head out for a couple nights of camping. We need to dump our tanks and take on fresh water, and we decided to enjoy an outing at the same time. We scouted campgrounds today, and found one that is not too crowded–that is, far enough from a lake to be a little quieter. As a major bonus, we get internet service there, which will be a real luxury! We’re excited for our “vacation”!