Fire and Ice

Where: At our summer job at Rock Creek Lakes Resort

It’s a blessing and a curse to live at very high altitude, just above a desert valley. This juxtaposition means that we sometimes have the opportunity to experience one hell of a temperature spread, and often in a pretty short span of time. The past week was one of those instances, where we went down to the valley and sweltered in 97 degrees, and then we woke up to 18 and snow at the resort yesterday. It’s like living in several seasons at once!

Last weekend, we drove south to Big Pine, the next town below Bishop, to spend the day with a lady we used to work with at the Resort. For the last decade, Patty was in charge of cleaning cabins, and only decided to give it up this year as a septuagenarian. She’s a spunky, independent woman who still heads out on long alpine hikes and practices yoga. She was a lot of fun to work with and we were missing her!

To the west of Big Pine is a gradual canyon that’s already snow-free, and has some great hiking along a normally gentle creek that’s now a ranging torrent. With the huge amount of runoff right now, it was like walking next to Niagara Falls, with waterfalls cascading in whitewater that made us a little nervous to cross the bridges over them! We hiked until we hit snow about 3.5 miles in, and then enjoyed a stream-side picnic at the trailhead.

Patty was known for her love of all kinds of boardgames, so a day with her would not be complete without a little competition. She had us over to her house, a charming vintage trailer on land she shares with a friend, and we sat out in the shade of huge trees to tussle over a few rounds of Monopoly Deal. (Which is our new obsession, BTW, and a game you should really check out!) Her land is a verdant oasis with tons of plants, flowers and trees, and a couple creeks running nearby, but she’s barely above the valley floor, and hence, the 97 degrees. We had a lot of fun, but we were completely wiped out by the heat by the time we headed home!

Yesterday was a complete contrast, and we woke up to a blanket of snow and frozen puddles everywhere. All the concrete walkways were like a skating rink, with a thin layer of ice covered in fluffy snow, and it was dangerous going. The low of 18 meant that the mosquito-harboring areas froze pretty solid, but it also made us worry for the fresh buds on the aspen trees. By afternoon, the sun was back out and everything was melted, even though it only got into the 40s. This weekend is supposed to be a real heat wave, and there’s talk that we’ll get up to the low 70s!

More crew members arrived this week, and we almost have our full contingent. I recruited Annie last year, when she came in to the Resort for her family’s annual jaunt to the Sierra. She had a great personality and big smile, so I asked what her plans were for Summer 2017! Brock, Nathan and Daniel are a trio of friends from Illinois, and I’ve been kidding that their arrival really tips the balance of the Resort towards the East Coast. It’s good that everyone is arriving, because the workload should really pick up in the next week, as most of our cabins are rented, and the nice weather should lure families up for some temperate climate recreation.

Here’s some scenes from the not-too-cold and not-too-hot middle of the week:

Finally spring right beside us!:

The last little iceberg on the lake:

A harbinger of allergies to come:

All along Rock Creek Road are new waterfalls:

Your teaser for next week is the fact that I promised I would jump into the lake on Thursday.  Provided I don’t die of hypothermia, I’ll have some good picture from that poorly thought out decision!