Sunday, October 18, 2015

The butcher was right

Yesterday, Friday, we took an auto hike into "the canyon" looking for a couple of lakes above 8000 feet and "the most beautiful colors" in the area.  

The cloud deck was still low, we left a sunny morning in Bishop behind as we climbed rt. 168 west towards Lake Sabrina, North Lake and then South Lake.

The butcher was right....the aspen along this route were the most colorful we had seen anywhere this fall.    The contrast between the grey stony mountains and the brilliant display of oranges and yellows was spectacular and unbelievable.

The day we did our mural scavenger hunt we stopped, briefly, at the local butcher shop.    We didn't buy anything that day, (the case displaying severed pig heads put me off a bit) but did chat with the butcher and he told us to head right up The Canyon to see the best fall colors - he told us we would be hard pressed to see brighter colors.     The butcher was right.

We stopped beside Intake Lake 2 to have our lunch.    Not a very beautiful name for a very beautiful little lake, but that's what it was called.    It seems that this is one of many lakes that supply the thirsty Los Angeles area.

this large pipeline carries the water away....

We continued along rt 168 (Lake Sabrina Road) at the bottom of a steep and narrow valley.   The clouds hung low on the mountain tops, but once in a while they would thin and reveal a craggy peak high above us.

We reached Lake Sabrina first, parked the car and took a walk to the shoreline.  This lake is one that suffers from the drought that plagues California, but it was starkly beautiful.    It still teems with fish.

The streams flowing out of the lake were swift but had many shallow, clear pools filled with small trout.

Next we took a spur road up into the clouds to find North Lake.   Had I known this quest would take us on a nasty, washboard dirt "shelf" road littered with water filled pot-holes,  broken edges and devoid of any guard rails,  I wouldn't have suggested giving it a go.  

 By the time we realized what we were facing, there was no where to go but we did.   Thankfully, the dangerous section of the road was not long and we were rewarded with another beautiful little lake surrounded by those neon

We had taken the dogs along with us on this trip, I envisioned letting them run free on a lake side beach while we ate our lunch.    Something we've done often in the past.    I didn't factor in the cloud cover and the elevation.   No beaches on these lakes and it was cold, cold and windy.     We saw a nice, wide and level pack trail leading away from the lake.   The footing was sand, which Sasha's old tender feet would appreciate so we let them out and walked down the trail.

come on, mom, mom, walk faster mom, catch up!

Sasha enjoyed sniffing the edges of the trail thoroughly, while Lewis zoomed back and forth, back and forth with a huge smile on his face.

He slipped under wire fences to investigate the yellow fields, he yanked small branches off trail side bushes and ran off with them.

got it!

He'd race up to Dave and heel alongside for a few paces before he was off again.

Luckily he listens quite well and comes back in a split second because this trail really was used as a pack trail.

Both dogs sat quietly and watched the loaded horses pass by.   Good dogs.

We walked until Sasha began to fade, then loaded back up in the car to find the last lake on our list....South Lake.

On the way we passed this unusual waterfall pouring out in three streams from the middle of a mountain.

these aspen woods remind me of a Bev Doolittle painting

South Lake was anti-climatic for us.   Perhaps the cold was settling in our bones, perhaps we were tired from our walk, perhaps it was the low low water level or the road construction blocking our way.    We got out, looked at the rocks and water, then got back in and drove home.

The car was nice and warm and the ride home was as beautiful as the ride up.  As we lost elevation we were happy to see that the sun was still shining on the volcanic tablelands and we'd soon be down there in the warmth.

Back at Beluga we sat outside for happy hour before walking across the street for a Mexican dinner with Pam and John.

Lewis and Sasha were so tired

Tomorrow we pull of stakes and make the very long drive to our next stop in Lone Pine - about 57 miles.


  1. South Lake was super low like that last year for us too. I don't know if that is normal for this time of year or due to the drought. Fortunately when we hiked further into the mountains above it, the other lakes were full.

    Those are some brilliant fall foliage photos!

  2. Sure was a beautiful drive! I do recognize most of the photos:)

  3. While you are in Lone Pine, the Southern Inyo Museum is worth a look. They have the details on how Los Angeles wiped out farming in the Owens Valley and diverted all of their water to LA. It's not a big museum, but we really liked it.

  4. What a gorgeous drive and great place to let the dogs have some fun! The lakes are so sad especially this time of year on top of the drought. But your colors were awesome!

  5. Well you know where we're going tomorrow! Fall colors AND actual fish?! Might skip the shelf road :-)