Boondocking & Bumming In Bishop, CA
Following last week’s freezing stay in Mammoth Lakes we escaped to lower altitudes and much (much) warmer weather in Bishop, CA. Thanks to the pre-scouting efforts of Watson’s Wonder (talk about fabulous RV friends, eh?) we were able to score an outstanding and very private boondocking spot in the Volcanic Tablelands. This ancient landscape was formed over 700,000 years ago and rises like a flatland phoenix just north of town. It’s a barren and forbidding place with a special allure all it’s own. Long, flat stretches of high-desert scrub surrounded by fascinating rocks, petroglyphs and breathtaking views of the white-tipped Sierra Nevada Mountains. In other words, just our kind of place…
We rolled into our spacious site earlier this week, aligned the RV east-west, tilted our solar panels (= 40% boost in solar generation, baby) and settled in for a longer stay. When we boondock like this we like to linger. With careful water management we can usually last 3 weeks on our 100 gallon tank and our first week in Mammoth took us down only 1/3 of a tank…right on schedule. With our solar panels tilted we have all the electricity we can possibly use and with miles of open and empty space around us we have all the nature we need right here. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but for us this is perfect heaven.
But we love the area too! We’ve been to Bishop before and have sampled many of it’s best assets including the amazing Ancient Bristlecone Forest, and Little Lakes Hike (probably my most favorite hike, ever!). This time around we decided to sample a few more of the local sights…
This may not be the land of flowing milk and honey, but it comes close. Around 14 miles west of town lies an area of world-class bouldering which was once the route of miners and the location of the Wells Dairy Ranch. The buttermilk is long-gone, but the coarse monzonite granite remains and draws climbers from all over the world to it’s classic ascents. It’s a pretty drive for those of us who prefer to keep our feet on the ground and makes for some neat photography too. A nice little day-outing all in all.
Mountain Light Gallery
Bishop is the home of one of my all-time favorite mountains photographers, Galen Rowell. I bought his book Mountain Light many years ago, waaay before I ever made it to the Eastern Sierra’s and have been in awe of his talent ever since. Sadly he died before his time, but you can still see his outstanding work (f0r free!!) right in town at the Mountain Light Gallery. It’s a place to immerse yourself and be re-inspired. I see it everytime I come to the area and sometimes twice….a worthy stop.
John Muir Wilderness
The John Muir Wilderness is a massive 581,000 acres (2,350 km2) area which encompasses some of the most spectacular and highest peaks (no less than 57 peaks over 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in elevation) of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s a land of striking panorama’s and thousands of hidden lakes. In other words…bloody spectacular stuff! We’ve hiked many bits of this country along our Eastern Sierra trips and did another gorgeous 6-mile round-trip hike to Treasure Lakes yesterday. There’s nothing quite like 10,000 feet of elevation to turn your heatbeat to a jackhammer and your legs to jello, but it’s all worthwhile for those picture-perfect alpine lake shots. And it’s all excellent fun too, of course.
Food And Friends
Surprising as it is, the little town of Bishop has quite the offering for foodie-lovers. We’ve sampled excellent Thai food at the airport (no, I’m not kidding), and delectable Holy Smoke BBQ just across from Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ (a rather famous place, but sadly no gluten-free offerings). But this week we took advantage of Amanda’s birthday to gorge out on home-made milkshakes and locally-sourced burgers at the Burger Barn. Not only is this a super-cool eco-friendly, ultra funky spot but oh my, oh my….let my taste buds die and go to heaven. A worthy place and one we will visit again!
We’re here for almost another week so there will (no doubt) be more of this good stuff coming. If you don’t hear from me, just assume I’ll be off in the wilds. As John Muir so aptly put it “the mountains are calling and I must go”…
JUST FOR FUN/ I ran a little experiment in the Mammoth post to see how much interest the word “naked” in the blog title would bring. Turns out it’s a massive attraction and brought me over 2,000 additional hits to that one day alone!! I can’t deny Paul is one hunky man, but that one beat even my own expectations. Pretty funny, eh?
AND ONE I MISSED/ Turns out that throughout our little 395 drive we’ve been boondocking & sightseeing in the very steps of Life’s Little Adventures. They’ve only been about a week ahead of us this whole way and have got some gorgeous pics of their own. Go check them out!