ROAD TRIP - June 2016

As a birthday treat Miriam decided to conquer her fear of driving on the Freeway and hire a car and drive us to Yosemite for the weekend. We were staying in The Bridgeport Inn, which was apparently the place where Mark Twain had stayed more than once on his ventures through the area. Upon arrival we were greeted by a 300 acre forest fire just outside Mono Lake which scuppered a few of our plans, but did result in us receiving a bunch of free ice cream.

 

The weekend included among other things, an 1850s Ghost Town, a volcano basin, a forest fire, natural hot springs, the Milky Way, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, a nearly fatal traffic accident and a Police manhunt.

 

 

BODIE GHOST TOWN

Bodie Ghost Town, is a living monument to the gold rush era of California. Built in the 1850s after gold was found the town quickly earned a reputation for lawlessness and for the chance to earn a quick fortune.

 

The park has been preserved and  a lot of the buildings still contain original artifacts and decor from the turn of the century when a majority of the populous fled after the collapse of the mining industry and thusly social order.

 

We were fortunate to arrive on a day when the park was open till 10pm and the Milky Way, along with Saturn, Mars and Jupiter were all visible in the night sky. Miriam's driving was pretty impressive along the three miles of dirt road in pitch darkness that led to-and-from the site.

We were fortunate to arrive on a day when the park was open till 10pm and the Milky Way, along with Saturn, Mars and Jupiter were all visible in the night sky.

LUNDY CANYON HIKE

The Lundy Canyon Hike is a little over 3 miles and took us past beaver ponds, fallen Aspen pines, waterfalls, and monumental rock slides. We were walking in midday heat, which was a little precarious, but the forest fire that had greeted us the previous day had prevented most visitors from the South access the trail which meant we barely passed a soul and felt as though, for a few short hours, we had the whole world to ourselves. Well, ourselves and the dragonflies and huge birds that occasionally glided overhead.

we barely passed a soul and felt as though for a few short hours we had the whole world to ourselves.

LUNDY CAMPGROUND BIRD HOUSES

The shop at the entrance to Lundy Canyon campground featured some fantastic fishing signs, hunting nostalgia, great local ice cream and unexpectedly a collection of bird houses outside, the earliest dating from the 1930s. I thought the boots were pretty funny, as was, although slightly disturbing, the 'hanged' cat.

MONO LAKE & PANUM CRATER

Sadly, due to the epic forest fire that began the morning we arrived we weren't able to get down to Mono Lake of the surrounding fissures and crater until we were leaving on the Sunday at midday. This meant the photos were not the best, but the place is literally like being on another planet, with the alien looking tufas of calcium rising around the basin..

 

The Panum Crater is the result of the last active volcano around the Mono Lake region. The hike around and into the crater is 3.5 miles and it's hard to get a sense of scale from the above photo.

the place is literally like being on another planet, with the alien looking tufas of calcium rising around the basin.

THE ROAD TO AND FROM YOSEMITE

It's safe to say Miriam;s fear of driving was justified by the drive home on Sunday. This drive took us through the truly epic Tioga pass which peaks at around 10,000ft altitude. The scenery in all directions was spectacular, from sweeping Alpine-like meadows to infinite swathes of pine forests and giant rock faces.

 

However, on the road out we narrowly missed a head on collision with a moron driving the wrong way down the fast lane of the Highway. As if this experience wasn't enough to take in, we were then witness to a fully armed manhunt in the Oakdale region which was akin to a scene from Grand Theft Auto, complete with armed response police carrying assault rifles and a helicopter carrying a sniper.

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