"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, June 4, 2022

June Lake Loop & Mono Lake - CA

Walker, CA
Bootleg NF

The second week of our trip to the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada between California and Nevada, started out with one of our favorite things to do.  Driving dirt roads.  On the other side of the Walker River, over the ridge is Burcham Flat Rd.  A mostly well graded dirt road that connects roughly the town of Walker to the Sonora Pass.
We started out on the southern end with great views of the mountains.  The road is wide and appears to be recently graded.  There are many geocaches along this road as well that we planned to find.  We also wanted to scope out some future boondocking places.
There are a few remote ranches and lots of BLM land.  There were a few offshoot roads that I would've loved to check out but they were more for ORVs. (Off Road Vehicles)
We did drive down one of the larger ones and it was through a large meadow filled with lilys.  
Views of the Carson-Iceberg and Hoover Wilderness ranges.  Some of these peaks are over 13K feet in elevation.  Usually they are covered quite a bit with snow year-round. 
All along the meadows were the most beautiful flowers blooming.  Some I have never seen before.
 

About mid-way, the road gets steep, narrow and rough.  Too bad as we found the perfect boondocking spot.  Too bad we could not bring the trailer up here.  There was a private meadow with a great view and plenty big enough for a few rigs with room to turn around.  Below is the location.  Great if you have a tent & 4x4.

As we drove back down towards the town of Walker, it continued to get steeper.

 
Some of the Cedar trees out here are humungous!  There was this tiny red flower plant too peeking out of the pine needles on the ground.  Another new one for me.
If you haven't been up this high in elevation you'd be surprised to see how deep BLUE the sky looks!
Looking down over the Walker River at a lookout.
Almost down and we stopped at a ranch where there was a geocache hidden.  It was getting late in the day on Memorial Day Saturday and the sun made the flag glow.  Beautiful site.  It was a great day.


Sunday we drove south to drive the June Lake Loop in the Mammoth Lakes are on the backside of Yosemite.
I recommend driving it from north to south for the best picture taking as the sun will be working for you in this canyon area.  Unfortunately we did it the other way and most of the waterfalls, lakes, etc were shadowed and I couldn't get many pictures.  It's a beautiful place.  
June Lake.  As with the lakes up here in the Sierra, they are beautiful, turquoise colored.  This is a popular ski/tourist area and there are many mountain cabins and properties you can rent.  There are a few campgrounds but most won't fit big rigs.  They are almost always crowded too.
After a lunch we visited the Mammoth Brewing Company.  It was packed and Steve didn't care for many of the beers.
We continued on looking at the gorgeous properties and past Gull, Silver and Grant Lakes.  There is a waterfall you can hike to but we were just doing the drive today.  After the loop drive we continued south on 395 and found many more places we may boondock in the future.  All listed on Campendium.
On our way back to camp we stopped at Mono Lake in the town of Lee Vining.  From the southern side there is a Visitor Center and you can walk down to the lake and see the Tufa Rock formations up close.
The color of the water can vary from bright green to bright blue.  It is a saline soda lake formed 760,000 years ago. The lack of an outlet causes high salt levels making the lake very alkaline.  The lake is full of brine shrimp that help feed migratory birds.  The average depth is 57 feet.
They look like icebergs.
On the other side of the lake is the Reserve  with a nice park and boardwalk.
You can walk between the Tufa Rocks.

Further down the dirt road brings you to an old cemetery.
Another nice way to end the day and our trip.
On the way out we stopped to check out the water again.  I made a quick cast and, Fish On!  This one was a little bit bigger.  I put him back in to grow some more. 
The rugged peaks are a sight to behold.  Bye for now.  We'll return in next month.
Past Lake Tahoe and up over the Pass.  Placerville is on the other side.  This narrow, steep drop off always makes you a tiny bit uncomfortable.

Coloma, CA
Ponderosa Resort
Back at Ponderosa Campground on the American River.  Our site was right across the water.

Happy Hour on the river.
Steve cooling off.  It was a hot week while we were here.  But that's just a precurser to our trip next week wiithout the rig to Arizona.
The only thing annoying was the person camped next to us.  They were away working all day until very late.  When they came home they would turn on their Bug Zapper and Flag Light.  Look at how bright the light is!  For some reason they point it straight out instead of up.  This lit up our campsite and made our campfire a little less pleasant.  Not to mention the bright blue of the bug zapper and the loud zap of bugs being electrocuted.  You'd think they'd at least turn them off when they went to bed.  Nope.  We'd have said something but we were only there for a couple more days. 

We normally visit with Steve's Stepmom in Surprise, AZ every February and October.  Since we need to be closer to my parents right now, we figured we'd drive out for her birthday.  Besides, if these gas prices keep going up we may not be able to get back in October.  We stored the rig at my parents neighbors house.  We were up very early and grabbed a coffee and my favorite donut and took off.

Driving through the central valley in the summer is not as pretty as when it is all lush and green.  This picture sums up the valley.  Lots of vineyards and crops, oil rigs and huge water pipes bringing the water down to LA.
Looks like a hot week ahead!  

Almost there and there is a giant baby in the farm fields outside of Surprise.
We spent almost all of our time visiting with Bunny.  It was so hot we could only ride our bikes very early in the morning or very late at night. We only swam a couple of times.  But we did take her to the movies twice and had Dairy Queen Blizzards a couple of times. 

Beautiful sunsets here though.  We had a couple of days that hit 114!
One more hot week and then it was time to drive back to Placerville.
We were able to meet up with Curt and Glenda in Mesa for a quick meal and drinks.  So nice to see them when we can.

I had a Prickly Pear Margarita.
My entertainment one day was watching the tree trimmers go at it with the Palm trees.
It made a huge mess, but they cleaned it all up perfectly.
We celebrated Bunny's 88th birthday a few days early and she was very happy!

Me, Robert, Steve and Bunny hiding behind her favorite Coconut Cake.
After a long 12 hour drive back we celebrated Father's Day with the kids and Jaxon.
We'll be home for one week then off to the higher elevations of Nevada to discover some dinosaur bones, caves and ghost towns.