Day 2: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, Eastern California
After an easy oatmeal breakfast with coffee and exceptionally delicious treats from the Alabama HIlls Cafe and Hard Rock Legends bakery in Lone Pine (a croissant and even better a Danish made with locally grown fresh peaches), the boys play more ball and I dive back into Mysore yoga challenges with Barbara Henning (You, Me and the Insects). She’s plagued by bugs and heat; here we have no pestering insects and the temperature is perfect. My life is calm while she is learning how to manuever a scooter in crazy traffic…(has a car gone by yet today? Maybe one or two?) She is surrounded by hordes of people and no one she knows; the two people I love best are laughing and playing together. We can’t see or hear another human; there is no one else within miles.
Too soon, we pack up and continue to Schulman Grove. Random patches of wildflowers including various purple and violet penstamen delight us, and soon we’re at the Visitor Center. The Ranger on duty has been there 18 years; my first visit there was 20 years ago when I was on a college environmental studies field quarter with ecologists Dr. Kenneth Norris and Dr. Stephen Gleissmann. There was no visitor center or much information then; now it is a lovely space, a log cabin with windows and light and a wood burning stove for the plentiful cold days, especially in early season, around Memorial Day, when the days are cold and the popular 4 mile long Methusalah trail still has snow on it.
We spread peanut butter and jelly on bread and head up the Bristlecone cabin trail, a new trail built within the last 5 years. The trees may not be that “old” along this part of the trail (maybe a few hundred or a thousand not like the 3-4,000 year old trees on the other side of the mountain), but the child is excited about seeing the old cabins and the mine remnants and that motivates him to keep moving under the hot sun. Continue reading