A Devil’s Postpile Morning

Day 6: Devil’s Postpile

A National Park Service ranger leads a walk at 11am daily to the Devils Postpile from the Ranger Station and today is the day we’re going along too.

But first, we’re moving from our lovely but sunny site next to the hikers for one under more pines and along the creek. Once we’re somewhat established, and have stashed some drinks and a watermelon in the creek, we make the 1.2 mile dash along the mostly level trail, crossing creeks, spying fish, towing the boy, and passing by the Postpile to make the 11am walk and talk.

About a dozen people join us, including a family covered in mosquito bites. They’d been backpacking Continue reading

Mission to go Fishin

Day 5: On a mission to go fishin’

Day 5: On a mission to go fishin’ — Middle Fork San Joaquin River, Sierra

The Big Monkey wondered at first what we’d do for more than a day or two down here in Reds Meadow along the San Joaquin River near Devil’s Postpile National Monument. Now he never wants to leave!

Today we hiked from our campsite near the hot springs shower to the store and café to check it out. We’d heard from the PCTers and JMTers that the food in the café was good, especially the homemade pie! The boy wants to go fishing, so we need to get some tackle—maybe a pole, certainly some hooks and bait. Plus we need ice!

The trail to the store area leaves the campsite near the showers, climbs a little, traverses the hillside above the meadow, and crosses two small creeks before dropping to the small cabins and motel rooms available to rent. It’s an easy walk and offers views of the meadow, the granitic outcroppings, and lots of wildflowers beside, below, and above the trail including one of my favorites, leopard lilies, a striking orange spire against the green backdrop.

The store sells the usual back country goods—cold beer, ice, Continue reading

Clos du Bois chardonnay: change of pace

Day 4: PCT Through Hiking & Reds Meadow

After a leisurely breakfast of delicious french toast made with raison walnut bread from Schat’s famous bakery in Bishop (the secret of great French toast is to use exceptional bread, one egg per person, equal amounts milk plus a tablespoon or two, and soak for a long time!), we headed north along Highway 395 toward Reds Meadow Campground near the ski area of Mammoth.

We’re anxious about getting a campsite since this is such a popular summer destination for hiking, fishing and sightseeing so following a quick resupply at the huge upscale Vons in Mammoth, we climb to 9,000 Minarets Pass which will take us from the east side of the sierra to the west. Continue reading

RBJ Theologicum 2000: almost as good as the 2001!

Day 3: Hot Springs Connoisseur

Day 3: Keough’s Hot Springs, 7 miles south of Bishop just off Highway 395, Eastern Sierra, California

Someone recently tried to convince me that I am a wine connoisseur. No—not yet anyway! A connoisseur to me means someone experienced, knowledgeable, an expert of sorts. I would admit to being a connoisseur of life, of exceptional places, and a few others things..but not yet wine.

Hot springs of the American west? Of that I am a connoisseur. I have tasted, experienced, evaluated, judged, tested the waters, and the soul of hot springs all over the western US and beyond Continue reading