Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Movie Road Tour & Dry Camping at Mt. Whitney
Hi all, Dianne here. Well, I must be a cheap date, because my favorite four days of this trip so far was spent in a $5-per-night BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground. Gotta say, though: It might have only been $5 per night, but we had a million dollar view!
Who needs eletricity (tv/internet) with this view from the patio! We haven't "boondocked" like this before, other than an occasional overnight. Since we're new at this, we were very stingy with our lights. So stingy, in fact, that I think we could have gone several more days.
We stayed at Tuttle Creek BLM campground, which is really just outside Lone Pine and the Boulder Creek RV Resort where we'd been for the prior three nights. Tuttle Creek Campground is between the Alabama Hills Roger wrote about, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It's a great place, except for the ridiculous speed bumps on the paved portion of the long lane leading back to it. I followed Roger as he drove the motor home in and out, going less than one mile per hour, and I swear it looked like the motor home would tip over at each bump!
We got settled in and made a quick trip back into Lone Pine for firewood for three nights. We had the best fire pit ever! Since we're in the high desert, there's also no problem with damp firewood. Boy, does it burn! We kept a bucket of water handy "just in case," and made sure to douse the embers each night.
I tried really hard to get a photo of the large flock of California quail that periodically paraded through our camp site. No luck: they run too fast!
Charlie the cat alerted me to some other wildlife, though. Charlie loved his perch in the desert!
Saturday we did a driving tour along Movie Road in the Alabama Hills, visiting several film sites. Ask any kid who grew up in the 1950s, and I'll bet we watched the same TV shows after school and on Saturday mornings: The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, the Cisco Kid, Zorro, and of course Bonanza in prime time. Cowboys were "in" in the 1950s. The Alabama Hills therefore looked very familiar to us, because hundreds of TV episodes and western movies were filmed there.
One example is the iconic opening sequence of The Lone Ranger galloping along to the William Tell Overture.
During the Movie Road tour, we took a short hike to Natural Arch. Roger already showed some photos from that hike in our last blog.
Natural Arch is a popular trail, which ends at the arch itself. It's a perfect spot to photograph the mountain range framed by Natural Arch.
After touring the Alabama Hills, we took a ride up Whitney Portal Road. RVer's note: This is where the famous mountain road scene from Lucy & Desi's The Long, Long Trailer was filmed! This drive deserves a blog all its own, so be sure to check back in a day or so for that one.
Perfect sunny skies and warm days. Steak for dinner on the picnic table, while watching the sun set behind the Sierras. A blazing campfire with a glass of wine and chocolate...in my mind, it just doesn't get any better than this!
When darkness came, I got out the new star wheel I'd purchased at the Ghost Ranch gift store in Abiquiu, NM. Charlie the cat wants to point out the constellation "Leo." (He is always such a big help).
It was fun trying to i.d. the constellations; however, it was difficult because there are so many stars visible in the sky in this clear mountain air. We could clearly see the Milky Way, too, and some satellites circling overhead.
Then Sunday morning we strapped on our hiking belts and followed a (very) primitive road that led from the campground to the mountains behind. The topography here is deceiving: What looks flat is often uphill.
We slogged along, uphill all the way, in the soft, sandy road track. It was like walking on an uphill beach. Once again, my old friend "altitude" was making me huff and puff. Roger seems to be immune; must be the Swiss DNA on the Hoppes side of his family.
Along the way we could hear the rushing waters of Tuttle Creek. We couldn't see it, because it was in such a deep trench filled with green trees that the tree tops were even with the trail!
After two miles (according to my pedometer), the mountains didn't seem much closer, so we turned back. The two-mile trek back to the motor home was a snap -- it was all downhill.
Then, back to our outdoor recliners to do some reading (Roger) and Sudoku (me), while watching the light patterns change on "our" mountains. Then, another outdoor dinner, another camp fire, and more bright stars overhead.
This whippet "photo of the day" is entitled: "You can lead a dog to water, but you can't make him drink!"
Notice Chaplin shutting his eyes and ignoring the water that we offered him after hiking uphill for two miles in the desert. He refuses to take a drink unless it's his own idea. He's an eccentric dog, but we love him!