Windy Joaquin and Colorful Convict

Where: On a month vacation between summer and holiday jobs; current stop: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA

The end of our summer job at Rock Creek Lakes Resort always comes around before we’ve had a chance to do all the hikes on our list. So, last week, we headed out two days in a row to get to places we wanted to see. Depending on the elevation where you go right now, you’ll either find golden fall colors and temperate temperatures, or cold, wind, and the start of winter. We managed to find both options in our two days out.

Joaquin Ridge is a hike that we never would have found without pouring through hiking guides for the area. It starts from Minaret Vista, between Mammoth Lakes and Devil’s Postpile, and joins up with a jeep road that climbs a spine with amazing views. The final summit affords a view over distant Mono Lake, but we only went about halfway up, because of hellacious winds. It was the kind of wind that can actually knock you over, and was really hard to fight. It was a short hike, but awesome for the unique perspective over Crowley Lake and the mountain ranges to the east and west.

The Mammoth skyline:

Views over the Owens Valley:

Mammoth Mountain:

The next day was a totally different experience. Thanks to the trusty California Fall Color Guide, we knew that Convict Lake was at peak, and that it was the right time to go to see a ring of yellow aspen against the uber-blue water. With multicolor mountains around it, the combo of lake and trees was just perfect. It was like color therapy to walk through tunnels of bright leaves in sunshine.

We were at the resort a little longer than previous years, because a few cabins were rented in the week after we closed on Columbus Day. The last customers checked out the following Sunday, and then we were able to finish shutting down all 11 cabins. The shutdown process is just a lot of hard labor, with everything in need of a good scrubbing after a summer of constant use, but the place sure does shine up with all that attention!

The highlight of our last week was the traditional crew dinner, hosted by the Kings. We went to the very fancy Convict Lake Resort, just a few canyons north of Rock Creek, the same lake we visited a few days before. The meal was absolutely scrumptious–honestly one of the best I’ve ever had–topped off by homemade Bailey’s ice cream and flaming Bananas Foster, and filled with laughter. It was a wonderful sendoff from a very sweet family.

2017 Crew:

The Resort shuttered for winter:

Colorful Rock Creek Canyon goodbye:

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We are now spending a few days just relaxing in the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine, CA, before we do some epic driving starting on Sunday. We have some RV appointments in LA, we’ll visit with Mary on the California coast, see Dave and Max in Temecula, and then head for Tucson.

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