Thursday, March 31, 2016

Big Pine Creek Hike

Sleeping at a trail head in the mountains (at elevation) is much colder than sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Reno.  Getting out of bed was a struggle, and the Mr. Buddy heater was definitely needed during breakfast.

We were all suited up and ready to get on the trail by 7am.  Scott and Dale had their skis on their backs and would be hiking/skiing all day.  I just had me..and some snacks...and was only going to hike a few miles, up until the snow line. 


The hike was hard enough for me -- withOUT carrying skis.  Those guys are in shape and were still ahead of me the whole time.  Can I blame some of that on the elevation?  They're used to it and I'm not! ;)

The hike was beautiful, and the scenery changed so much, around every bend in the trail.



By the time we got in to the snow, I was pretty ready to turn around.  I had snow pants on, but just regular shoes.  Once the guys put their skis on and started skinning, I was determined to keep going further to make it to a look out point above the lakes.

Dale assured me the trail was "right over there" and would be "easy to find."  HA!  Yeah, right.  I lost the trail the second I left them.  And never found it again.

It had snowed recently, and apparently I was the only idiot who decided to hike it, because there were no other footprints to follow.  I decided to just go up ... and up.  To the top of the closest hill I could find, only to find no view and another hill a little further.

I was post-holing with every step and my socks were soaked.  I almost turned around a couple of times, but decided I would try one more way up to a peak.  And thank goodness I did, because that was the view I wanted.  That was where I wanted to be.  And on top of that, it was perfect timing, and Scott and Dale were just skinning across the frozen lake below me!  (It's hard to see, but they're down there on the lake if you look closely!)

This was a few hours in to the hiking, so I was pretty tired and just sat down on the rocks to enjoy the view and take in the surrounding mountains. 

The hike back down wasn't as stressful, because at least I had my own footprints to follow.  The pace was much slower, and I stopped at all the waterfalls a long the way to try out my slow-shutter app on my phone.



It was cold and my face was frozen...but I was still happy to be out there in the mountains!

There were only a couple of spots where I wasn't sure which trail to take, but I eventually made it back to the van, and immediately stripped off my wet, cold clothes.  Too many layers lead to too much sweat.  Oops!

I had the rest of the day to kill before the guys would be back -- hopefully by 9pm.  (That is FAR too long to spend in the snowy mountains if you ask me!)  So I hopped in the van and took off to see Bishop, CA.

There was so much to see and do there.  I drove around a few different spots, walked along the main road and stopped at some shops, went to Kmart for some stuff for the van, and eventually parked it in an open parking lot and just enjoyed the beautiful day and nice views.  (And shadow selfies.) ;)  

I got a call from Mammoth Mountaineering, where my skis were being mounted, that they were done.  So I made the drive back to Mammoth to pick them up, and checked out the town of Mammoth while I was there.  I thought about skiing there, but it was already late in the day and my legs were pretty done from the hiking.

My new skis and boots, complete with Dynafit bindings!

I stopped a few more places along the drive back from Mammoth to Bishop.  There is seriously too much to do and see in that area  -- I couldn't even take it all in!

I made it back to Bishop around 7 and ordered a little pizza for dinner before cleaning up the van and heading back out to the trail head to wait for the guys.  

I timed it pretty perfect and only had to wait 15 minutes or so before I heard them talking and laughing in the light of their headlamps, coming down the mountain in the dark.  Crazy guys...

They were hungry, to say the least, so we went in to Mountain Rambler Brewery in Lone Pine to grab some food for them.  I didn't eat, but enjoyed the live local jam session going on!

I don't know how they still had energy after a day like that, but I was wiped out and crashed as soon as I got back in the van.  Guess I'm not ready to hang with the guys for an all day adventure yet! ;)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mammoth, California

After a trip in to Wal-Mart for the bathroom, breakfast in the van was granola and a green smoothie.

And then we hit the road for the 3 hour drive down to Mammoth, California.  Can't believe after all my time in Tahoe, I never made it to Mammoth!

The drive started out nice enough, but that quickly turned to rain and snow.


I was a little bummed it was too cloudy to see all the beautiful mountains down there, but the lakes were a nice substitute. 

Firs things first in Mammoth.  Time to get my  new purple skis mounted so I can use them!  

After a quick stop at Dale's house in Mammoth, we got back on the road to check out some local hot springs.  

The first springs we stopped at had far too many cars at the trail head.  The little hot springs pools aren't near as fun when you're squished in to some naked person you've never met before.

So we passed on those and went to plan B a little further down a different dirt road.

The skies were starting to clear up and the sun was beautiful as it was slowly slipping behind the mountains.  Oh, and these hot springs weren't packed at all.  In fact, I got one little spot all to myself!

Once we'd had enough of the hot springs and sufficiently smelled like sulfur, we jumped out, dried off, and ran back to the van for dinner before we froze to death outside.  (Slightly dramatic, maybe, but it is SO cold out in the wind when you're nice and warm from the hot springs!)


After dinner, we drove up to a trail head outside of Lone Pine -- the start of tomorrow adventures!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kansas City --> Tahoe

I only lasted another week in Kansas City before taking off for my next little adventure:  out to Tahoe for a few days, and then a road trip from San Francisco up to Whistler (Canada) for Shannon's spring break.

I basically packed my entire closet for the trip.  FOUR bags.  Don't judge me.  One is a ski bag with skis in it and one is a ski boot bag -- with rock climbing gear in it, haha.

KC -->  Las Vegas (where I got a free mini cooler with my airport sushi) --> Reno

Reno doesn't normally get a ton of snow, so I was surprised to see all the white stuff upon landing.

Scott picked me up at the airport, and after a few stops at REI and Marshalls, we ended up in a Wal-Mart parking lot to get some groceries and make some dinner in the van.

I finally pulled the trigger and bought some ski boots ON-LINE without even trying them on.  I had them shipped to Scott and he was actually more excited about them than I was!  He had them out of the box and on my feet in no time.

And the verdict is... they're keepers!  Can't believe after all the shopping in Colorado and on-line looking I did, I finally have a pair of light ski boots that are semi-comfortable on my wide foot!  They're the Atomic Backland boots, if anyone cares.  And they're amazing. 

Anyway, Scott warmed up some lentil soup in the van, and then we rented a Redox to end the night. The two hour time difference is rough on my body and that 8:30 sleep time I'm used to, so it's usually an early bedtime when I'm in California!

We are off to Mammoth tomorrow to get my new skis mounted with my new bindings..and maybe actually use them sometime on this trip!