Woke up at 5:!5 yesterday to drive up to Bishop and do a 3 day ski tour. Things started good across the Antelope Valley.
5 hours later I rolled in to Bishop CA, pulled into Wilson’s East Side Sports and asked about conditions. Basically they told me that everything depended on where snowline was for the storm currently underway. Bishop is at about 4K’ in the eastern rainshadow of the Sierra. Walking out of lunch, there was not a drop of rain coming out of the sky. I jumped back in the car and headed up towards the Lake Sabrina trailhead. Rain started around 6K, and it was pouring. The trailhead, though sits at 8K, right where snowline was forecast. I drove through the tiny burg of Aspendale at 7,500′ with some trepidation – still rain, and about 30 seconds later (said it was small), pulled up to the access gate. Uh-oh. The road you see is where I was supposed to be skiing. Seriously.
Ok. I’ll just drive _further_ north to Mammoth Lakes. Back in the car and another hour later, I step out at 8.5K’ to…. rain. Fine. June Lake looks a littlle higher. I’ll try that. Another 40 minutes in the car and WHAT? It’s raining even harder here. I turned it back towards Mammoth =, now having driven about 450 miles, including my little backroad detours. It’s 3:30 and I can’t fathom doing the ride back today. I drove so far for this! So I found a coffee shop with free wifi in town, posted up, and began to look for BLM or Forest Service camping in the area. No dice, at least not in winter. The ranger mentioned that they prohibited it because of snow and mud on the roads. Screw it, I figure, I’ll just go up some FS road and throw the tent up – they’ll never find me tonight.
Well, mission accomplished. I had myself so scared that I would be stuck that my chest was tight with anxiety. I drove half an hour out past Owens River Gorge on some godfoorsaken road (home of a supposed incident where a Bigfoot killed a person!) road, so soft and so slick that I was four-wheel rally drifting the turns just to stay afloat. By the grace of god, full time AWD, and plenty of tread left on my tires, I made it out of there but was absolutely burned out. I was defeated.
But wait! What’s this? A lovely meadow, fairly near the road? It’s beautiful.
Where should I sleep? Oh, probably not here, the whole thing is a STEAMING CAULDRON. The meadow was a huge seep for a geothermal hot spring.
Fuck it. I’m driving home. It’s 7p and 350 miles. I stop at a place called Giggle Springs to fill up and get a Vitamin Water. The ignorant 16 year old girl at the counter enforces their $5 credit/debit minimum on purchases at the counter – even after I explain to her that I’ve just spent $30 outside to fill my tank. (Expletive rant from email to friends edited)
Only one nap stop in a random McDonalds on the way home before hitting Home at 12:30a – about 20 hours and 800 miles after I started.