Saturday, August 6, 2016

EASTERN & CENTRAL SIERRAS : Summer Vacation July 4, 2016 (Day 3: Rock Creek to Convict Lake)

At 8:00am on day three of our vacay, we checked out of Comfort Inn in Bishop and made a quick stop at the nearby Vons & Starbucks to pick up some breakfast and other supplies before heading up Hwy. 395 for the 28-mile leisurely drive to Rock Creek. The weather was absolutely perfect: sunny, mildly breezy, and a very temperate 72F. We arrived at Mosquito Flat trailhead at the roadend of Rock Creek Road at 9:25am and found a few parking spaces still available. The last time we were here in the summer of 2011, we arrived at 10:00am and the parking area was already full, with a literal traffic jam up the narrow 2-lane road for at least a half mile down. Lesson learned, so we arrived a bit earlier this time around. Gone are the days when the Eastern Sierra used to be a hidden gem that few knew about and traversed to. Mosquitoes were abundant at Mosquito Flat (go figure), so we slathered on the repellant before heading out. I was hoping for a wildflower bonanza from the so-called "Godzilla" El Nino this past winter, but, not so much. Most abundant were sticky cinquefoil, meadow penstemon, alpine shooting stars, club moss ivesia, and bog laurel, but no larkspurs, gentians, or fireweed. The pups, of course, went to town wading in the rushing, clear, cold waters of Rock Creek. We left Mosquito Flat trailhead at 11:35am and lunched in a pullout off Rock Creek Road about a half mile down. Addy started grazing on some grass there and then summarily puked all the herbage up (no doubt drunk as a skunk from all that creek water he drank).  I would have been concerned except that he was immediately riveted by the potato salad I was eating more than shortly thereafter. After lunch, as we descended Rock Creek Road, I made Gil pull over across from the roadside seep between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade campground, which was characteristically resplendent with Kelley's tiger lilies, seep monkey flowers, and Inyo meadow lupine. I was in photog hog heaven. We arrived at Convict Lake at 1:30pm and checked into our cabin (Mono Jim #12). This was one of their newer cabins and very well appointed. The pups were happily tired and passed out, and Gil (after downing an IPA 395 from the Mammoth Brewing Company) also passed out. All in all, a very good day!


 Entering Rock Creek Recreation Area, eastward from Hwy. 395

 Ascending Rock Creek Road

Rock Creek Road

 Rock Creek Road ends at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

Rock Creek from Mosquito Flat Trailhead near parking area 

 Sasha is all revved up and ready for some sqwerl and/or chipmunk huntin'
Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Meadow Penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Few-flowered Meadow Rue (Thalictrum sparsiflorum)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead


 Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Small-flowered Stickseed (Hackelia micrantha)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead


Slender Lupine (Lupinus gracilentus)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Sticky Cinquefoil (Drymocallis glandulosa)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead


 White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead


 Bridge to the Mosquito Flat Walk-In Campground (a special 10-site, one night-only campground for backpackers)

Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead


 
Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Addy, the perpetual creek addict
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Pups are in a flippy, 'I wanna go in ten different directions at the same time' kinda way
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek 


 Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek 

Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Wandering Daisy (Erigeron peregrinus)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Alpine Shooting Star (Primula tetrandra)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat Trailhead

 Carpet Clover (Trifolium monanthum ssp. monanthum)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 California Corn Lily (Veratrum californicum var. californicum)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

White Fir (Abies concolor)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Mountain Heather (Phyllodoce breweri)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Mountain Heather (Phyllodoce breweri)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Can't get enough of that creek!



Sasha went full Sumo on Addy! Almost dragged Gil into the creek whilst chest slamming her bro...

Tea-leaved Willow (Salix planifolia)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek 

 Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Meadow off walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Meadow off walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Club Moss Ivesia (Ivesia lycopodioides)
Meadow off of walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Primrose Monkeyflower (Mimulus primuloides)
Meadow off of walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Alpine Shooting Star (Primula tetrandra)
Meadow off walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Red Fir (Abies magnifica)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Pussypaws (Calyptridium umbellatum)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek


 Mountain Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia ssp. microphylla)
Walk-in camp side of Rock Creek

 Mosquito Flat walk-in campground




Meadow Penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii)
Mosquito Flat walk-in campground


Mountain Butterweed (Senecio integerrimus)
Mosquito Flat walk-in campground


Giant Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
Meadow off Mosquito Flat walk-in campground


Lupinus species, pullout off Rock Creek Road about 1/4 mile down 
from Mosquito Flat trailhead, where we lunched

Rock Creek Lake


Hilton Creek Trailhead across the road from the Rock Creek Lake side
of Rock Creek Road


Inyo Meadow Lupine (Lupinus pratensis)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Inyo Meadow Lupine (Lupinus pratensis)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Richardson's Geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Western Labrador Tea (Rhododendron columbianum)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Large Mountain Monkeyflower (Mimulus tilingii)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between 
Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Above roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
Above roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground


Coulter's Daisy (Erigeron coulteri)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground


Richardson's Geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

     Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge
                                  and Palisade Campground


Giant Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

American Brooklime, American Speedwell (Veronica americana)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Sierra Bog Orchid/Sierra Rein Orchid (Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Sierra Bog Orchid/Sierra Rein Orchid (Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Sierra Bog Orchid/Sierra Rein Orchid (Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum) and Inyo Meadow Lupine (Lupinus pratensis)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Meadow Chickweed (Stellaria longipes)
Roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground


Nuttall's Linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii)
Above roadside seep off Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Lodge and Palisade Campground

Wilcox's Woolstar (Eriastrum wilcoxii)
Lower elevations of Rock Creek Road

Sulfur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum)
Lower elevations of Rock Creek Road

Bridge's Gilia (Navarretia leptalea)
Lower elevations of Rock Creek Road


Hwy. 395N en route from Rock Creek to Convict Lake

Convict Lake Road


Convict Lake Road

We checked into Mono Jim Cabin #12 at Convict Lake at 1:30pm. Unlike Comfort Inn in Bishop, the wifi connection here was actually pretty good. No A/C, but the fan, along with all the open windows, provided a very nice breeze. 




The cabin's kitchen was well stocked with blender, toaster, crock pot, utensils, pots & pans, plates, glasses, etc.





An apropos ending to a day of hiking in the Eastern Sierras

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