Summers in the Sierra, sublime

Where: our summer job at Rock Creek Lakes Resort

When we first started full-timing, we had the idea that we would choose a different location for every summer job. Neither JJ or I had spent much time out west before living on the road, and there was so much we wanted to see. We stuck with the plan for the first 2 summers, working the first in Big Bear, CA, and the second at Rock Creek in Bishop, CA. We’re now on our third summer in the Eastern Sierra, and will probably keep coming back for a few more years. Why are we returning to the same place over and over? By far, the best part of spending our summers here is the huge amount of things to do and places to go—practically limitless! We tried out a few totally new trails this week and lucked out with solitude and beautiful views.

While there are a limited number of trailheads on the east side, each one is the start of several trails leading off into different directions. We have hiked from South Lake, west of Bishop, but way back before our first summer here. Last week, we were craving a short, quiet hike, so we met up with Luka to trek to Marie Louise Lake. There were tons of people on the main trail, but once we turned off onto the tiny trail to the alpine lake, we were the only ones around. Those sorts of areas are just the antidote to the bustle of a busy week, and you can feel your body slowing down and relaxing as you sit and enjoy the beauty.

South Lake:

JJ and Luka look like little people among the Shooting Stars:

Trying out our new mosquito head nets.  They work like a dream!

We also continue to discover hikes that are absolutely fabulous, but barely have any coverage online. Yesterday, we met up with our co-worker Michelle, and her two friends who were in town. We tried out Reversed Peak, with only one vague blog post to guide us, and no real idea of what to expect. The prominence is the tallest point in the middle of the June Lake Loop, affording a 360 degree view of the whole area from the top. It was a really tough hike, all steep uphills on loose, sandy soil. But when we finally popped out at the top and scrambled to the rock outcropping that comprises the highest point, the views were definitely worth struggling to see. The pictures I have just don’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to come out and see the splendor for yourself sometime!

Grant Lake, which was dry the last 2 years, is now full:

We climbed up from down there!

Panorama with Michelle photobombing:

And when I want to stay close to home, I have plenty of options that I can reach right from the Resort—no car needed. In a secret and undisclosed location near the Resort are a set of little ponds that are just the right distance for a before or after work stroll. This was the first time I’ve been to them this season, and even with knowing the route, they were hard to find because of all the water and snow on the way. Part of the trail was underwater, now an ephemeral pond that has not been in prior years, and lots of the trail was still covered in deep snow. The heavy snowpack also tore down many of the pine trees or bent them all out of whack as it slid downhill, which made the trail hard to find. The south-facing slopes near the ponds were snow free and covered with wildflowers.

This is normally the trail, now a haven for frogs:

Plenty of snow at elevations just above the Resort:

Mule Ears flowers are blooming:

Pretty, but I don’t know the name of this one:

Even just a walk around the lake can be fascinating. This week, out for an evening stroll, we saw a bald eagle and an osprey. The osprey circled about a hundred feet above the water, before diving underneath and reappearing with a big trout in its talons.

Up this week, JJ and I celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary, and we’re making buckeye candies for a crew dinner.  As he said “subjecting Californians to Midwest culture since 2015”.  Til next week!