Summer 2013: Sierras, Cascades & Rockies travel blog

Boulder Creek RV Resort from Horseshoe Meadows Road

Horseshoe Meadows Road

Horseshoe Meadows: Deformed limb on dead tree

Horseshoe Meadows: Deformed limb detail

Horseshoe Meadows Road: Cliff face detail

Owens Lake Bed & Ponds. The ponds are used to suppress dust...

Mt Whitney Portal Road; note switch back at base of mountains near...

Lone Pine Peak

Mt Whitney

Film History Museum: Customized Cadillac door

Film History Museum: Customized Cadillac rear fender

Film History Museum: Cowgirl costume

Film History Museum: Wedding dress

Film History Museum: Wedding dress detail

Alabama Hills 1

Alabama Hills 2

Alabama Hills 3

Alabama Hills 4

Alabama Hills 5

Alabama Hills 6

Alabama Hills 7

Alabama Hills 8

Manzanar: relica of original housing

Manzanar: Monument to Japanese held in the Manzanar camp

Cloud of Sierras at Manzanar

Clouds over entry to Onion Valley

Independence Creek and Onion Vally Road

Switchbacks on Onion Valley Road

Onion Valley

Waterfall in Onion Valley

Cloud over Owens Valley

Rock Walls


Mountain Sight Seeing 2013: The Sierras, Cascades and Rockies


We have planned our summer 2013 trip to travel north along the east side of the Sierras and Cascades to north Washington. We will then travel east to Glacier NP, south through the Bitter Roots and northeast Utah finally east to Meeker, CO to see the National Sheep Dog Trials the week after Labor Day. From Meeker we will travel our usual route home: stopping in Montrose; a short side trip to stop in Pagosa Springs, CO; a stop in Cortez, CO to include the celebration of Brian’s Mother’s 100th birthday (assuming she survives to that date as she’s not doing well at this time); and, finally a stop in Show Low to see our friends. We expect to be back in Mesa September 19th.

A personal note for those who followed our summer 2012 travel journal:

As you may recall, we had to end our trip sooner than planned when Brian was diagnosed with high altitude sickness. We arrived back in Mesa in late August and Brian’s breathing problems were diagnosed as asthma.

The recovery has not been easy. It has been complicated by recurring lung infections, for which I’m now completed about 4 weeks taking an antibiotic prescribed for 6 weeks. Fortunately, the asthma is now under moderate control with the combined use of several medicines to control inflammation and allergies.

Since no definitive cause has been identified, my allergist has recommended that I be examined at Jewish National Health Center in Denver (Jewish National is the nation’s leading place for pulmonary studies and treatment). The enrollment and approval process is ongoing via e-mail at this time. We have requested a mid to late August date for admission which requires an in hospital stay of 4 to 10 days depending on the specifics of my case. We have developed two alternate routes to Denver should I be accepted.

Also, for any that might be concerned about the risk of high altitude sickness due to the focus of our 2013 trip on mountains, rest assured that the highest elevations of the planned campgrounds are below the recommended max level of 8000 feet. In other words, we don’t plan to be at higher altitudes for extended periods of time (days versus hours).

We enjoyed our stay in Lone Pine, though it was hot (101 – 105).

The primary purpose for stopping in Lone Pine was to explore the southern end of the Eastern Sierra Mountains and the Owens Valley. We had previously explored some of this region. Three trips occurred before we retired and started using a travel trailer as our base of operations. We made one previous trip with our trailer. These trips included visits to Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, Mono Lake, Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest, and Death Valley NP.

We made our first RV trip through the area with our friends Margaret and Ian McKee in September, 2001. During that trip we traveled from Barstow, CA north on US 395 through the Owens Valley and stayed at Lee Vining. During that stop, we explored Mono Lake, Devils Post Pile, the ghost town of Bodie, and some of Yosemite. We learned of the terrorist attacks as we were preparing to depart Lee Vining the morning of September 11, 2001.

In short, we’d been here and wanted to come back and see more – and now we're here.

June 7th we went to Horseshoe Meadows. Located in a basin on the Kern Plateau at the southern end of the Sierras at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Horseshoe Meadows has a primitive campground, day use area, and equestrian facilities. It is a staging area for hikers, climbers, fishermen and horsemen entering several adjacent Wilderness areas. Avid fishermen come to catch (and release) the rare Golden Trout, native to the local streams exclusively in the Golden Trout Wilderness west of Horseshoe Meadows.

The paved road to the Horseshoes Meadows is unusual. It starts from Hwy 395 about 1.5 miles south of Lone Pine at an elevation of 3760 ft (across the highway from the entrance to Boulder Creek RV Park). Unlike most roads into high mountain meadows, it traverses the side of the mountain slope in a long series of switch backs reaching the meadows by crossing a ridge, rather than following a canyon along a stream. Hang gliders have a launch site at Walt’s Point along the road to the meadows.

Our last side trip from Lone Pine was June 9th. The trip started with a stop at the Museum of Film History for movies (mostly westerns) filmed in the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine. From there we went to the Alabama Hills and located scenes from various historical western movies. (The Alabama Hills were named for the battleship Alabama).

We then traveled north on US 395 and spend some time at Manzanar National Historic Park. Manzanar was one of 10 internment camps used by the US to house Japanese from the three states on the west coast during World War II.

After Manzanar, we went on north to Independence, CA where we had lunch and then we drove west on the Onion Valley road, following Independence Creek into Onion Valley in the Sierras. Onion Valley is a basin in the Sierras at an elevation of 9200 feet with a primitive campground and day use area. It is used by hikers and climbers and is also a favored spot for local fishermen seeking rainbow and brown trout. A commercial guide and pack string facility is located adjacent to the parking area.

Brian experienced shortness of breath and some discomfort, but no serious asthma attacks, during our trips to the higher elevations.

We depart Lone Pine for Mammoth Lakes, CA on June 10th.

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