Sunday, April 29, 2012

EASTERN & CENTRAL SIERRAS: Summer Vacation 2007



7/6/07 View of Eastern Sierras from West Portal Scenic Viewpoint (Portal Rd.), north of Mammoth Lakes off Hwy. 395, Mono County, CA.

In July of 2007, Gil, Hana and I had taken a week off to head up to a few of our fav destinations in the Eastern Sierra, side tripping westward on Hwy. 108 (Sonora Pass Rd.) over to the Central Sierras into Gold Country, and then back to Bridgeport via Hwy. 88 (Carson Pass Rd.) and Hwy. 89 (Monitor Pass Rd.). It was an awesome summer vacation: wine tasting in Amador County, traveling through Gold Country and Mark Twain's old haunts, misadventuring with a black bear at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, birding, and enjoying all the incredible wildflower displays along the way. To top it off, we had to keep ahead of a scourge of wildfires that seemed to be following us in our wake (kinda scary - more on that later). Needless to say, my camera was on overdrive during this trip. Here are some of the highlights:


DAY ONE (7/6/07)
Hwy. 395N to Bridgeport and Upper Twin Lakes, Eastern Sierras:

7/6/07 Wire Lettuce (Stephanomeria pauciflora)? The flowers on this plant had the darkest, richest pink color I've ever seen on a StephanomeriaRoadside off Hwy. 395 at West Portal Scenic Viewpoint (Portal Rd.), north of Mammoth Lakes.



7/6/07 Upper Twin Lakes, Toiyabe National Forest, Bridgeport region of Eastern Sierras, Mono County, CA.

7/6/02 Family portrait: a man, his dog, and his ride. Not quite sure where I fit in...
Upper Twin Lakes. 

7/6/07 Got Fish? Upper Twin Lakes.

7/6/07 Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Near Twin Lakes campground, Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/6/07 Mountain Chickadees, doing what looks like some courtship mate-feeding.  How sweet! Near Twin Lakes campground.


DAY TWO (7/7/07)
Hwy. 108W (Sonora Pass Rd.) to Leavitt Trail and West Walker River, Sonora Pass, and Soda Creek:

7/7/07 10:00am, at Sonora Junction (Hwy. 395 and 108). From here, heading west on Hwy. 108 (Sonora Pass Rd.) to Sonora & then Jackson. Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Westbound on Sonora Pass Rd. (Hwy. 108), Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center off Sonora Pass Rd. Gil had a SPAZZ attack when he saw this...apparently, MUCH more exciting than all that flower-gazing and bird watching that I subject him to on all of our trips...:)

7/7/07 View of the West Walker River from the Leavitt Meadows day use area/trailhead parking. Sonora Pass (Hwy. 108), Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Leavitt Trail, crossing the footbridge over the West Walker River from Leavitt Meadows campground. 

7/7/07 Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana). Trailhead at bridge from Leavitt campground to Leavitt Trail.

7/7/07 Shadowy glimpse of a Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus) on the run. Lighting was poor, but at least I got the shot. Leavitt campground.

7/7/07 West Walker River, West Walker Trail off of Leavitt Trail.

7/7/07 "Nah, I don't feel like crossing, do you?" 
West Walker River, West Walker Trail.

7/7/07 Hana, panning for gold in the West Walker River.

7/7/07 Nodding Microseris (Microseris nutans). Leavitt Campground, Sonora Pass Rd., Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum). West Walker Trail from the Leavitt Trail, Sonora Pass Rd., Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Dusty Maiden (Chaenactis douglasii var. douglasii). West Walker Trail from the Leavitt Trail.

7/7/07 Wood's Rose (Rosa woodsii). Leavitt campground.

7/7/07 Bridge's Penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus). Sonora Pass Rd. (Hwy. 108), Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Mountain Pennyroyal (Monardella odoratissima). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd., Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.

7/7/07 Bigelow Sneezeweed (Helenium bigelovii). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Great Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Large-leaved Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Mountain Chickweed (Stellaria longipes). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Alpine Shooting Star (Dodecatheon alpinum)? Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Unidentified - the flowers look like an epilobium's. What is it?? Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Tiny Trumpet/Narrow-leaved Collomia (Collomia linearis)? Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Brook Saxigrage (Saxifraga odontoloma). Soda Creek, Sonora Pass Rd.

7/7/07 Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata). Sonora Pass Rd. (Hwy. 108) between Soda Creek and Sonora Pass historical marker. 

7/7/07 Brewer's Lupine (Lupinus breweri). Roadside off Hwy. 108, west of Sonora Pass historical marker. Elevation 9,624'

7/7/07 Velvety Stickseed (Hackelia velutina). Meadow off Hwy. 108 just west of the Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of the Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Western Bistort/Lady's Thumb (Polygonum bistortoides). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Toad Lily/Water Minerslettuce (Montia chamissoi). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Monument Plant (Swertia radiata). Meadow off Hwy. 108, west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Monument Plant (Swertia radiata). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Little Elephant's Head (Pedicularis attollens). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Old Man's Whiskers (Geum triflorum). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Primrose Monkeyflower (Mimulus primuloides). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Pussypaws (Calyptridium umbellatum). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker.

7/7/07 Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa). Meadow off Hwy. 108 west of Sonora Pass historical marker




DAY THREE (7/8/07)
Hwy. 149 (the Mother Lode Hwy.) to the Mark Twain Cabin in Tuolumne County, Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County, Sutter Creek & Avio Wineries in Amador County, then back to our lodgings in Jackson. It was a full day...

7/8/07 Mark Twain Cabin, 1 mile up Jackass Hill Road off Hwy. 49 (the Mother Lode Highway). Central Sierra foothills, Tuolomne County.

7/8/07 Hana and Gil, thinking deep, jumping frog thoughts at the Mark Twain cabin. Boing, boing, boing...ribbit!

7/8/07 Just wondering...could this be the "Jack Ass" of Jackass Hill Road?

7/8/07 Angels Camp, home of the famous Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, immortalized in Mark Twain's 1865 short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

7/8/07 Giant Sequoia. "The Sentinels," North Grove Picnic Area, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Calaveras County.

7/8/07 Hana and Gil checking out one of the Sentinels. Being a State park, you cannot bring fido with you on any of the trails here, but pets are allowed at the North Grove Picnic area and at South Grove's Beaver Creek Picnic area (where all of these pics were taken).

7/8/07 Clover (Trifolium spp.). North Grove meadow/picnic area. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Central Sierras, Calaveras County.

7/8/07 White-Veined Wintergreen (Pyrola picta). First time I ever came across one of these little woodland beauties - reminds me of a Phalaenopsis orchid with variegated leaves. Would love to find a nursery that carries it. 

Beaver Creek Picnic Area, South Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park. 

7/8/07 Pacific Blackberry (Rubus ursinus). North Grove meadow/picnic area, Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

7/8/07 Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris). North Grove meadow/picnic area, Calaveras Big Trees SP. 

7/8/07 Tourists on the "Discovery" stump for photo op.

7/8/07 Black Bear at the Beaver Creek Picnic Area in South Grove. Scared the beejeezus out of me. We had just finished lunch and Gil forgot to throw out the empty soup can on the picnic table - I'm sure that's what attracted this guy. Then, as I was rushing to drag Hana into the car (she was not cooperating cuz she was lunging at the bear the whole time), Gil, along with another idiot dude, started running giddily towards the bear with their cameras trying to get a shot of him. DARWIN AWARD!!! ? He got his couple of shots, but I was seriously pissed off by then...

7/8/07 VFW post in the town of San Andreas. Rock on, war vets!
Off Hwy. 49 between Angels Camp and Jackson, Central Sierra foothills, Calaveras County.

7/8/07 Sutter Ridge Winery and Vineyards, Sutter Creek. Gil popped in for a wine tasting while Hana and I braved the heat out in the vineyards. Twenty minutes later (that was quick), he emerged, surprisingly sober, with 6 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Central Sierra foothills, Amador County.

7/8/07 Sutter Ridge Winery.

7/8/07 Next stop, Avio Vineyard and Winery. Again, Gil went in and did the wine tasting, while Hana & I hung out next to the car - that was my call, since I wanted to explore the lovely grounds. At least there was some shade this time around...Gil scored 6 bottles of Sangiovese.

Central Sierra foothills, Amador County.
7/8/07 Beautiful roses and orchard at Avio Vineyard.

7/8/07 Olive grove and fruit trees at the entrance to Avio Vineyard. Napa and Sonoma are de rigueur for most oenophiles, but I much prefer these relatively uncrowded, out-of-the-way gems which produce excellent quality wines that are more reasonably priced (reminiscent of some of the boutique wineries in the Temecula Valley back home in our neck of the woods).

7/8/07 Gil, enjoying some of that Sangiovese he purchased from Avio Winery after an exhausting day. No fancy stemware here, just the standard red plastic cups...

Pet friendly Best Western in Jackson, Amador County.


DAY FOUR (7/9/07)
Hwy. 88E (Carson Pass Rd.) to Silver Lake, Caples Lake, Hope Valley Wildlife Area (Alpine County), Hwy. 89 (Monitor Pass Rd.) to Markleeville, then back onto Hwy. 395 to Bridgeport. 

7/9/07 Silver Lake (Kay's Silver Lake Resort), Hwy. 88, Carson Pass Rd., Central Sierras, Amador County.

7/9/07 Gil and Hana, poised for potential squirrel chasing. Silver Lake.

7/9/07 Silver Lake.

7/9/07 Mountain Spiraea (Spiraea douglasii). Silver Lake.

7/9/07 Blue Penstemon (Penstemon laetus)? Silver Lake.

7/9/07 Sierra Angelica (Angelica lineariloba). Silver Lake.

7/9/07 Ruddy Copper (Lycaena rubidus) on shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis).

7/9/07 Fox Sparrow (Paserella iliaca). Silver Lake.


7/9/07 Caples Lake off Hwy. 88E (Carson Pass), El Dorado National Forest, Alpine County.

 7/9/07 Caples Lake.

7/9/07 Timberline Phacelia (Phacelia hastata). Carson Pass Rd. (Hwy. 88E) at 6,000 ft., El Dorado National Forest, Amador County.

7/9/07 Velvety Stickseed (Hackelia velutina). Carson Pass Rd., El Dorado National Forest, Amador County.

7/9/07 Mountain Pride Penstemon (Penstemon newberryi). Roadend of overflow parking area for Carson Pass Information Center. El Dorado National Forest.

7/9/07 Gil and Hana are ON A MISSION. Be afwaid....be vewy AFWAID ye SQWERLZ of Hope Valley - bwahahaaa!!

Hope Valley Wildlife Area, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Alpine County.

7/9/07 Hope Valley Wildlife Area.

7/9/07 Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis). Hope Valley Wildlife Area.

7/9/07 Oregon Checkermallow (Sicalcea oregana ssp. spicata). Hope Valley Wildlife Area.

7/9/07 Douglas' Campion/Douglas' Catchfly (Silene douglasii). Hope Valley Wildlife Area. 

7/9/07 Markleeville, off Hwy. 89 (Monitor Pass Rd.), Alpine County.

7/9/07 Who needs Bristol Farms, Whole Foods or Dean & Deluca's when you've got this gourmand's wet dream? 
Down home always trumps ostentation...

7/9/07 Burn area from the June 2007 Topaz Fire, Hwy. 89 east of Monitor Pass en route to junction with Hwy. 395. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Mono County.


DAY FIVE (7/10/07)
Day trip to Virginia Lakes, Mono Lake, Rock Creek, then back to Bridgeport:

7/10/07 Virginia Lakes, Toiyabe National Forest, Eastern Sierras, Mono County.

7/10/07 Virginia Lakes.

7/10/07 Belding's Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beldingi)? Virginia Lakes.

7/10/07 Roundleaf/Mountain Snowberry (Symphoricarpos rotundifolius). Virginia Lakes.

7/10/07 Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis). Virginia Lakes.

7/10/07 Long-leaved Paintbrush (Castilleja linearifolia). Virginia Lakes Rd.

7/10/07 Blue Flax (Linum lewisii). Virginia Lakes Rd.






7/10/07 Gil in "Zen" mode and Hana in "I think I see a squirrel" mode, whilst contemplating the tranquil view of Mono Lake. 
Nature trail at the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area visitor center, Lee Vining, E. Sierras, Mono County.

7/10/07 Hooker's Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima). A beautiful stand growing near the parking lot of the visitor center at the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. 

7/10/07 Black-Throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata). Nature trail at Mono Basin visitor center.

7/10/07 Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella brewerii). Nature trail at Mono Basin visitor center.




7/10/07 Impending thunderstorm looming over the Mono Lake Access Area. This is the same system that would later spark a 600-acre wildfire in the June Lake area. Creepy, but we seemed to be leaving wildfires in our wake as we  traveled through the Eastern Sierras.

7/10/07 Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena). Mono Lake access area.

7/10/07 Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus). Mono Lake access area.

7/10/07 California Gull (Larus californicus). Mono Lake access area.

7/10/07 Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat Trail, Rock Creek, Inyo National Forest, E. Sierras, Mono County.

7/10/07 Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat Trail, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Glaucus Larkspur (Delphinium glaucum). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek, Inyo National Forest, E. Sierras, Mono County.

7/10/07 Sierra Lily (Lilium kelleyanum). Roadside seep off Rock Creek Rd. between Rock Creek Resort and Pine Camp.

7/10/07 Mountain Pride Penstemon (Penstemon newberryi). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 A stunning blue Penstemon (Penstemon spp.). Could it be P. speciosus...? Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Sierra Rhein Orchid (Platanthera leucostachys). Roadside seep off Rock Creek Rd. between Rock Creek Resort and Pine Camp.

7/10/07 Meadow Penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Granite Gilia (Leptodactylon pungens)? Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Club-Moss Ivesia (Ivesia lycopodiodes). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Giant Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Jeffrey's Shooting Star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi)? Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.

7/10/07 Alpine Goldenrod (Solidago multiradiata). Little Lakes/Mosquito Flat trailhead, Rock Creek.



7/10/07 For dinner, burritos from The Barn. Yum! 
Bridgeport, E. Sierras, Mono County.


DAY SIX (7/11/07)
Bishop to South Lake and Lake Sabrina (Inyo County, E. Sierras):

7/11/07 West Line St./Hwy. 168 W, en route from Bishop to South Lake and Lake Sabrina. 
Inyo National Forest, E. Sierras, Inyo County.

7/11/07 Red-winged Blackbird, South Lake.

7/11/07 White-breasted Nuthatch, South Lake.

7/11/07 Alpine Pink Columbine (Aquilegia pubescens). South Lake.

7/11/07 Desert Sweet (Chamaebatriaria millefolium). Roadside, Bishop Creek at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Swamp Onion (Allium validum). Bishop Creek at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Bitter Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium). Bishop Creek at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Bishop Creek Road to Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Gil and Hana, the champion trout sniffer.
Bishop Creek Road at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Middle Fork of Bishop Creek at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Rustic cabin straddling the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek at Lake Sabrina. 

7/11/07 Another cool cabin off of Bishop Creek near Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Private road, Middle Fork Bishop Creek, at Lake Sabrina.

7/11/07 Mountain Chickadee. Private road, Middle Fork Bishop Creek, at Lake Sabrina.


DAY SEVEN (7/12/07)
Hwy. 395S from Bishop back to LA:

7/12/07 Aftermath of the Inyo Complex Fire off of Hwy. 395 in Independence, as seen from our drive back to SoCal. The fire was ignited by a series of lightening strikes that hit just after we had initially passed through this area on July 6th. At one point, the towns of Independence and Big Pine were evacuated and Hwy. 395 shut down because the fire had jumped the roadway. In the end, over 30,000 acres were incinerated in this conflagration. We weren't sure if 395 would be open to traffic by the time we were scheduled to head back home, but fortunately, it was. So unreal - we had just come through here a week prior, and now the landscape was simply devastated. 

7/12/07 Aftermath of the Inyo Complex Fire off of Hwy. 395.

7/12/07 Aftermath of the Inyo Complex Fire off of Hwy. 395. 

No comments:

Post a Comment