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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monache Meadows - Inyo NF - "dark ominous clouds above us unleashed their fury"

The start of the road into Monache Meadow. I drove in here for the first time back in the early 80's.
Looks like it took a lot of work to open the road this summer.
Olancha Peak in the distance.
Entering the main meadow.
Crossing the Kern River.
Headed for Monache Creek.
 Near Monache Creek.
Cabins on the east side of Monache Meadow.
Driving back to the Kern River with Monache Mountain in the sunshine.
Beautiful day for reflections.
Kern River in foreground, Olancha Peak in background.
 The obligatory river crossing video.
Driving through Monache Meadow headed for the river camps.
Fording the Kern to visit a location that I had camped at more than 20 years before.
Camp One - relaxing at 8000 feet.
The next morning we walked north along the river to the dam.
Jan stayed with the FWC and watched as a bird snatched a fish out of the river.
photo by Ron Pinkerton
Driving back across the Kern.
 Ron fords the Kern.
Ron drives over the ridge back to the meadow and heads for home.
Camp Two - overlooking Monache Meadow.
Late in the afternoon I heard the pounding of hooves and looked up to see three horses and riders moving fast trying to reach camp before the dark ominous clouds above us unleashed their fury.
Friends returning to Kennedy Meadows after driving in for an afternoon visit.
The next morning: 6:45 AM, 22 degrees and frost covers the meadow.
Our camp nestled among the pines and clouds breaking over the summit of Olancha Peak.
A shallow part of the river froze in the night.
Leaving camp and headed for home.
Jan spots some interesting fungus.

My guess is Gymnopilus sapineus.
Then Jan observes dripping sap.
She takes an interest and I take a photograph.
A closer look.
On this trip we encountered below freezing temperatures, rain, hail and a bit of snow.
Winter is coming to the Sierra Nevada.


  1. How difficult is the trail. I have always wanted to go there, but I only have a stock 4x4 SUV. I hear the trail is rated "easy". Would a stock 4x4 SUV have any issues?

    1. No worries on the trail, it is easy. Our Tacoma is stock and we once drove out without using 4x4. Visit Monache later in the summer to avoid the snow, mud and debris that can make the trail more difficult. We usually visit in the fall. Cheers.

  2. That van has really taken you an Jan through places! If it talks, it would have a story to tell! You should treat it some day... though i don't know how one can treat a car. LOL

    1. You are correct. Our Tacoma is 11 years old and has taken us to some fabulous locations, never letting us down. I had it cleaned at a car wash earlier this year. Maybe that was it's treat.

  3. Nice blog! I found out about Monache Meadows this week and have been fantisizing ever since. I have a stock Chevy Blazer 4x4 with premium AT tires, so I was glad to see your comment above about access. However, I am a bit leary of the water crossings--some of it looks deep! I should probably take a 4x4 class before trying this tuff--I've only done modest off-road up to this point.

    1. As 4x4 trails go, Monache is modest offroading and an easy drive. There is only one short section that requires any thought. I don't think you will have any problems. The water crossing does not have to be made to reach the meadow. You only cross the Kern River if wanting to explore the east side.

    2. Thanks very much for the information! I shall not hesitate to try it. I think I will wait for fall, as you mentioned above, too.