Just like last year, the weather was looking pretty dicey over the weekend before we planned to head up to the resort. We wanted to get fairly close but still enjoy a couple snow-free days! Horton Creek Campground, just north of Bishop, was the perfect place to hang out…we love the views over the Owens Valley and the fact that it’s always dead quiet, no matter when we go. Oh, and it has blazing fast internet, all the better to binge on Netflix and Facebook before we start out summer without.
While the mountains above us got snow everyday, we mostly just saw rain and fog. We would have loved to get in tons of hiking, but all the trailheads in the area were covered, and only a fun time for skiers and snowshoers. One trail, Lower Rock Creek, starts down in the valley, well below the snow line, and we enjoyed the riot of colors of the wildflower bloom. That is, until we got about a mile in, and the swollen creek was so wide that it was flowing down the trail as well. Summer doesn’t really show up until about July in the Sierra, and spring can be a tough time to get outside!
Last Monday, we called up the resort to confirm that the road was clear, and then said goodbye to any temperature above 60 for the next month! The drive up was just fine, but the sides of the road were stacked high with plowed snow, and the forest floor was thick with white stuff. Rock Creek Lake had melted around the edges, but most of it was iced over. I put away all my summer gear and pulled out fleece jackets and jeans…no more tanning for a while!
The road leading up to the trailhead above us….not going to open anytime soon!:
I really like the pace of the workload before the resort opens. There’s a ton to do, but it’s mostly pretty heavy labor, so we tend to work just 4-6 hours each day. There’s plenty of time to exercise and do yoga and go for walks before or after work, and I feel like I have time to make some nice dinners for the crew.
The main order of business is to get the rental cabins ready for guests. “Cabin” is a misnomer; these are nicely appointed cottages, with full kitchens and bathrooms. We start by spring cleaning them, shopvacing every surface to evict the omnipresent spiders, wiping down all the wood paneling with oil soap, and taking down all the curtains, light fixtures and pictures to shake them out. After that, we do a regular cleaning session. And let me assure you: we do a through clean! All the furniture is vacuumed or dusted, the bathroom is sanitized top to bottom, and the kitchen gets the sort of attention that I have never lavished on my own. Basically, every single component gets a once-over, and the place is sparkling when we’re done. There’s 11 cabins, ranging from a one-bedroom duplex to a 4 bedroom, 2 story monster, so we really have our work cut out for us over the next week and a half.
Because the weather has been dry and sunny, traffic at the lake next to us is hopping. Fisherman are starting to stop by, hoping to pick up worms, or beer, or snacks. So, another big task was to get the store set up, so that we can be open next weekend, ahead of schedule. Thankfully, one of the new employees this year is an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, so we let Kevin set up the wall of fishing accoutrements. Even after one season, I don’t really understand what the different components are, but Kevin promises to teach me. He’s already caught us a trout dinner out of the lake!
Some things are a little different for us this year, and some are just the same. It was much easier to adjust to a life without cell or internet service this time, and it’s great to know our way around both the resort and the canyon. Unlike last year, we spent so much time at lower elevations this spring that the change to 10,000 feet was a real killer-we’ve been ready for bed super early, and put in about 9 hours of sleep every night. Last year was a real culture shock to a life in the mountains, but this year, it felt like we were returning home.
One of the most fun parts this year is the 3 dogs at the resort. Luke was here last year with the owners, and the managers Amy and Steve got a lab puppy over the winter. Atlas is now the middle child, because of the other employees has a brand new puppy, named Trout. They all tumble around, playing and wrestling, completely wearing each other out. Everyone gets along great, and it’s adorable to find the whole crew snuggled up together.
More of the crew will be coming up over the next week, and the official opening day is May 27. We’re looking forward to a great season!