Prescript: my formatting is wackadoo today for some reason, so please excuse my paragraph-less entry!
After growing up in Ohio, and accustomed to being able to get out of the state with just a 2 hour drive in any direction, I still can’t believe how big California is. My sister and brother in law found it out when they visited, just traveling from Reno to Yosemite to here and then back to Reno, but putting over 1200 miles on the odometer in the process. There’s so many places on the map that look tantalizingly close, but when I start investigating with Google maps, I’m squashed to find that they are hours away. In particular, we wanted to hike in a canyon north of Mono Lake that was just too far to be part of a day trip. So, we had an overnight excursion, and made a weekend of it………….
Virginia Lakes Canyon is full of mining history, long hikes deep into the Sierra, and fall colors, if you time your trip just right. We stopped first at Virginia Lakes Resort, which was founded in the 1920s, and is pretty much still living in that decade. There’s no electric lines to the complex, so the whole place runs on a giant, noisy generator. The inside of the general store/lunch counter is pure old-time fishing lodge, all dark wood, with trophy mounted fish all over the walls, and a fireplace big enough for 5 people to stand in. We had a tasty burger and fries, and were fueled to start exploring……………………..
Many hikes into the mountains require the intrepid hiker to travel for miles before reaching a lake, but this hike was much like the one in our canyon, where you stumble over the first lake immediately, and they just keep coming. We gained ground quickly, which afforded wonderful views down the canyon, and all the way into Nevada. We passed an old mining cabin, with an array of rusty implements displayed on a table inside. The last mile of the trail was switchbacks over talus slides, and we wondered just who forged these paths to begin with. When we popped over the pass (either called Burro Pass or Summit Pass, depending on which guide book you read), we had a view down a canyon in the back with views of distant Summit Lake.
That evening, we stayed in Bridgeport, CA, at the Silver Maple Inn. We walked to dinner at two fine establishments just down the block, and enjoyed the vittles of the Barn and Jolly Kone. On the way back to the inn, we popped in the little library, where a resident was giving a slideshow (hoo-wee, does that word show my age or what?!) of his travels on the pilgrimage road in Spain, the Camino Santiago. There was even a bathtub in our room, which was pure heaven…………………………….
The next day, we sauntered back to our resort, stopping at overlooks of Mono Lake, and sampling the ice cream delights of Lee Vining. Mostly, we delighted in the pleasure of internet and cell availability for 2 days in a row. I recently saw a friend lament on Facebook that she had forgotten her phone at home, and had been “out of touch” for 4 hours. We have spent the summer out of touch for one week at a time. We’re really missing the ability to talk with friends when we want, or pay bills one at a time, rather than all in one day that we go down the hill. We’re not internet junkies, but it’s been tough to be without it for 5 months, and we’re excited that we’ll be back in the world of connectivity in a few weeks……………………………
The resort’s last day is Columbus Day, October 12, less than 2 weeks away! The crowds are still coming in, and in giant clumps thanks to the ongoing construction project up our road and the attendant delays. The leaves up here changed colors rather abruptly, about 2 weeks ago, and about a quarter of the aspen are now entirely bare. We’ve been unseasonably warm, still getting into the upper 60s every day, and only into the 40s at night. We have a few little projects to finish up before we hit the road in 3 weeks, so our weekends won’t be quite so fun for a little while. But, then we will have an epic road trip as we reposition to Fort Worth, TX, to start our holiday gig at Amazon.com.
P.S. I just realized that I’ve had a successful year of no-poo. I’m still loving the whole system, and I can’t imagine going back to a regimen where I need to wash every day. For details on my method, check out this post I did for my 6 month anniversary.