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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Glass Mountain - "clear how the mountain got its name"

 We drove the Benton Crossing Road around to the eastern flank of Glass Mountain and then turned west toward Sawmill Meadow.
 We set up camp at the end of a short 4x4 road that serves as the trailhead to the summit of Glass Mountain. The next morning I started hiking up the steep use trail to the summit.
 Relaxing on the summit of Glass Mountain (11,160 ft) I gazed across to the northern summit. It is 40 feet lower than the southern summit.
 One last look at the summit before heading back to camp.
 One of many obsidian outcrops found along the trail. The outcrops made it very clear how the mountain got its name.
 Jan greets me with a smile as I return to camp. She is probably smiling because her feet aren't as sore as mine.
 We moved our camp to Sawmill Campground.
 The next morning I set up my new backpacking hammock and Jan certified it as comfortable.
 Continuing our circumnavigation of Glass Mountain.
 We tired of the graded roads and began to travel on the 4x4 roads. When we encountered this fallen tree Jan thought we were stymied but a few other vehicles had driven through the trees and around the obstacle.
 In examining the branches above our route we noticed that a camper using the bypass had a close encounter with a tree. Our pop-up camper missed the branch by three feet.
 Sunset at our camp 2,500 feet above Long Valley and about 6 1/2 miles west of Glass Mountain.
 Sunrise. The mosquitoes were intense at dusk and dawn.
 Headed back to the main road. We did not see any other people during our three night stay except one camp about three miles from pavement on the last day.
 We drove north to CA 120 and met pavement just east of Sage Hen Summit.
 While driving along the south shore of Mono Lake we decided to visit Navy Beach.
Signs that read 4x4 only always seem to get our attention.
 The alkaline waters of this endorheic lake.
 Obligatory photo of tourist standing next to lake.
 High winds forced kayakers off the lake just as we arrived at the shoreline.
 Waves breaking against tufa towers far off shore.
One of the tufa formations near Navy Beach.
 Tufa formation from above.
 Another from above.
We head for home.
Mount Wood, Parker Peak, Kolp Peak and Mount Lewis in the distance.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Buttermilk Road to Mosquito Flat - "a couple of curious deer"

 We decided to camp in Buttermilk Country northwest of Bishop.
The usual sites near the graded road were taken so we drove on.
Crossing McGee Creek.
 The Buttermilk Road continues west toward Mount Tom then loops south to Grouse Mountain, Bishop Creek and CA 168.
 Clouddripper to the south highlighted by the morning sun.
 Our camp near Grouse Mountain with Mount Humphreys in the distance.
 The second half of the Buttermilk Road is just double track not the wide graded road of the first section.
 A couple of curious deer watch as we drive by,
 After breaking camp we continue driving the loop.
 Intake on Birch Creek for one of the Bishop Creek Hydrolectric System penstocks.
 Nearing the end of our travels on the Buttermilk Road.
Below us we saw a penstock for the Bishop Creek Hydrolectric System.
 A closer look.
 After lunch in Bishop we drove north on US 395 to Tom's Place and then west up Rock Creek Road.
We hiked into Little Lakes Valley from Mosquito Flat (10,300 ft.), the highest designated trailhead in the Sierra, accessible by car.
 Marsh Lake with Bear Creek Spire in the background.
 Feet cooling in the waters of Marsh Lake.
 Rock Creek flowing toward Mack Lake.
 Jan spotted a yellow-bellied marmot on a rock as we were leaving Rock Creek Lake.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thorn Meadows/Cedar Creek, LPNF - "bear tracks were plentiful"

The road to Grade Valley is getting narrower.
Headed for Thorn Meadows Camp.
 Cattle grazing in Grade Valley and in the background to the left is a GPS seismograph station.
 Stopped at the old Fish Bowls Trailhead. Years ago a person could drive two miles up the creek to the wilderness boundary. It made the hike to the Fish Bowls much shorter.
 My mapping program includes both a 1900 and 1930 series topographic map. They both showed cabins but the 1988 series did not. I stopped to search for any remains. Found nothing.
 Sighted an elusive 'treehugger' ;) after the turn onto Thorn Meadows Road.
 There was no road to Thorn Meadows on the 1930's topo.
Arriving at the campground and find the restrooms shot to hell.
 View from inside was sort of astronomical. :)
 Rock formation behind the restroom.
 Dawn at Thorn Meadows Camp. Over night low of 40ยบ. This camp was once called Snedden. Probably named after Samuel Snedden. Makes one curious why they changed the name.
 The trailhead for Thorn Point is located at this camp. Hiked up to the lookout ten years ago. Very cool place to visit.
 The guard station was constructed more than 100 years ago, when the only access to this area was on foot or horseback.
 The station has a broken window but hasn't been vandalized like the restrooms.
About one mile east of Thorn Meadows is the Cedar Creek Trailhead. I decided to hike up to Cedar Creek Camp.
Bear tracks were plentiful along the trail.
 Along Cedar Creek.
Many coyote tracks.
 Have no idea what was going on here. Maybe someone built a sweat lodge.
 This stream crossing was just before the campsite.
 Arriving at my destination.
One of the campsites at Cedar Creek Camp.
Interesting design on a trail side log.
Cedar Creek didn't have much water in June.
 Most of the trail is open grassland with scattered trees.
 Truck and camper wait at the end of the trail.
 Sighted on the drive back to the Grade Valley Road.
 Nine miles to the Lockwood Valley Road and then a right turn toward home.