Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eastern Sierra camping

Location, Glass Creek, CA

Ok, so it has been a long time since my last entry so this will be a long posting. We packed up the RV and headed for Glass Creek on Saturday, June 21st by a round-about way. We drove to Nipomo, CA and parked in Ron and Becky’s driveway. It was really hot, about mid 90’s, so we stayed inside until late afternoon when we could venture out and enjoy the patio. They fed us a nice salmon dinner.

On Sunday morning we both left early for the drive to Tehachapi via Hwy 166 from Santa Maria. I had never driven this route before but knew it was somewhat hilly and would also be hot. Other than no passing areas on the road, the trip was fine. We stopped in Maricopa for lunch at a vacant lot. We continued east for several miles then north on Old River Road to Hwy 203, the East Bear Mountain Blvd which goes through a couple of little towns before climbing rather sharply to join with Hwy 58 which took us to Tehachapi.

We parked in our ex-neighbors Budd and Brenda’s yard which has room and electricity for 3 RV’s. This makes a nice stop and breaks up the trip into easy drives each day. It was quit warm so the afternoon was spent on the patio in the shade. Brenda fed us a nice dinner and we all retired early.

By 9 the next morning we were ready to head north after a stop for fuel. Our trip was via Hwy 58 to Mohave then north on Hwy 14. Just south of Bishop I blew a trailer tire on the driver’s side front. Fortunately the shoulder was wide enough to pull off where it happened. The tire was quickly changed with Budd’s help and we were soon back on the road. This tire like the blowout in January took the side wall out.

We had planned to stop in Bishop for lunch at Schat’s Bakery and did do that although a bit late. There is RV parking across from Schat’s near the ball field. The lot was quit full when we arrived and the line for sandwiches was even longer inside. We all ordered and ate outside under umbrellas. It was very good as usual.

I walked across the street from the bakery to the Visitors Center and looked up a tire dealer in the phone book. Only one listed so that made the choice easy. After a call to them to confirm that they did indeed have the tires I needed I pulled next to their shop. The ladies to Ron and Becky’s tow car and headed for shopping at K-mart in Bishop then to Glass Creek Ron also left with his RV while Budd stayed behind just in case there were problems. An hour or so later and lighter in the pocketbook by $800, I had 5 new Special Trailer tires.

Budd and I finished the drive to Glass Creek where the ladies were sitting in a camp space but the resident campground host was reluctant to let us camp in the usual spot. (More on that later). Clyda had a call from our neighbors Paul and Kathy who were in Bishop and arrived shortly so that makes 4 couples camping together. Good times.

I will put our next several days into categories which will be easier to read I think.


On Wednesday we drove to Bodie, the mining Ghost town, north of Lee Vining. We arrived near lunch time so drove to the picnic area for lunch which we had brought with us. After lunch we toured the town which is in a state of arrested decay. Buildings are stabilized as needed to preserve them. Mostly, buildings have had new roofs added to keep out the weather. As we were preparing to leave I wanted to take a group photo using the timer on my camera. The pictures were awful. All washed out as if over exposed. Bad News!!! My camera quit working and no amount of fixes worked. Bummer!

A valley of wild iris on the road to Bodie.

The Standard mill at Bodie.

Scenes of Bodie.

Of course we had to stop in Lee Vining for ice cream on the way home. It has become sort of our “thing to do” while camping together.

On Thursday we elected to hike around Convict Lake south of Mammoth. This also has become a required thing to do each time we camp here. We always follow it with lunch at the Convict lake Resort served outside under the Aspen trees. Lunch is a little upscale but well worth the price. We justify it by doing the hike first. This year the wild flowers are magnificent. Someone told us that these two weeks will be the best time for flowers this year.

On Friday only Budd and I elected to hike Mammoth Pass from Horseshoe Lake to Reds Meadow Pack Station via Mc Cloed Lake. Becky and Clyda drove us to the trailhead and we started hiking about 10 AM. The trail begins with a moderate climb to Mc Cleod which we reached in 15 minutes after detouring around some snow banks covering the trail. The lake is very full and some of the shore areas are under water. After spending a few minutes admiring the view, we headed for the connector trail to the Mammoth Pass trail. 10 minutes walk put us on the Mammoth Pass trail which continued up a slight rise until it started gently down through the trees. This trail has had few hikers yet this year judging from the few foot prints. This made for very nice footing as we hiked. We encountered more snow as we headed downhill but not enough to slow us down except for pictures. As we descended we entered the burn area from the 1991 Rainbow fire which burned 77,000 acres. Most of the trees are now broke off and falling down which makes for an unusual sight. The trail got steeper as we descended and also was looser footing as it is all pumice. We had lots of wild flowers in this area. We arrived at Reds Meadow just as the noon bell was being rung. We washed up then had lunch at the restaurant. Lunch was hamburgers followed by cherry pie ala mode which made the hike worth while. After lunch we walked to Reds Meadow campground nearby and looked at the hot springs bath house. No one was using it at the time which is unusual. I was wishing I had brought my towel along as this is a nice warm bath we have partaken of in the past.

We walked on to Socher Lake where the trail ended at a rock wall. We had to climb up a goat trail to get to the real hiking path and the bus stop at the road. A few minutes wait and a bus came by and took us back up to Mammoth Mountain Inn where Becky and Clyda were having a glass of wine at the Yodeler restaurant.

This was a very nice hike.

Saturday we drove south to McGee Creek and hiked up the McGee Creek trail for a couple hours. The main reason for doing this hike was the wild flowers. Someone we had met told us about them. They truly were varied in variety and spectacular in colors. We hiked to where the stream from the falls runs across the trail. The hike to the falls was about another hour so we elected not to do that. We also turned around because other hikers told us the mosquitoes and no-see-ums were bad further up. After arriving back at the parking lot, we ate lunch at a picnic table.

Other activities:

On the days we didn’t hike we stayed around camp, took trash to the rest stop, got water at the rest stop south of us and played Mexican Train dominos. We also played “washers” with a set Budd had brought. A lot of reading was done by the group also.

Camping at Glass Creek:

We have enjoyed camping here at Glass Creek for many years and especially like the free and open camping. With no specific sites, we could arrange our camp as we wished to accommodate anyone who joined our group. Sad to say, that has come to an end. With a Forest Service Volunteer on site, camping has now been restricted to specific areas. Much of the previous camping space has been cordoned off with rocks and brush or logs. The camp host tells you where you can and cannot camp. Supposedly, the number of campers has been restricted to 50 units. The chances of finding a camping site are now iffy after driving all day and expecting a camp site. You are just taking a chance that there will be a spot for you. The official reason for the restrictions is that the traffic over the tree roots is causing the trees to die. It is true that many trees have died and have been cut down. A total of 1200 new trees have been planted this year with only 1 in 20 expected to survive. It remains to be seen how all this will play out over time.

Also, the OHV (off highway vehicle) people have taken over the campground and most campers are now towing trailers with motorcycles, or ATV’s and I even saw one trailer with two of the 4 wheel “mules” come into the campground. Later the “mules” were driven around the camp tearing up the dirt with very aggressive tires. Doesn’t make sense to me why people feel the need to do this.


Budd and Brenda left on Monday for home and Paul and Kathy left on Wednesday and will stop at Budd and Brenda’s for a few days before going home.