The Month of Many Lakes – Oregon-Nevada-California

Our fond memories of Ashland, Oregon, from our first year of full-timing in the RV in 2012 compelled us to return to this cute little town.  The Shakespeare Festival gave us even more reason to spend a few days here.  I clearly remember (and that’s not something that happens frequently!) how much we absolutely loved Ashland.  We even thought it might be someplace we could live permanently.  It had a special ‘vibe’.  But, I think that now that we are in our third year on the road, and I’ve seen so many wonderful, adorable, cute little towns that Ashland is now just one more.

We spent the first few days at Emigrant Lake.  The weather was very nice albeit a bit chilly in the morning.  I must say we are enjoying our solar panels immensely.  The lake, however, has a depressingly low water level.  And the ground is so thick with stickers that Lucy couldn’t go outside.  And then we couldn’t get tickets to the plays we wanted to see.

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

We got up early (early for us anyway) to go to the Farmers Market in Ashland.  Everything was fresh, organic and yummy, as expected!

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought some of that organic raspberry jam

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought lots of great produce

Farmers Market - You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

Farmers Market – You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

As we sipped our coffee and devoured our baked goodies, we noticed these gentlemen wearing tin foil covered helmets.

Tin foil helmets

Tin foil helmets

Then we noticed the additional protestors across the street who were worried about the government doing bad things to them.

A5 2014 Sept - Ashland - protestors

A7 2014 Sept - Ashland OR pirate protestor

I’m not trying to start a political debate here.  Just found it amusing.  Time to move on.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

We made a long drive down to Lake Mead, Nevada to meet up with our friends Ingrid and Al (LiveLaughRV.net).  They were interested in buying the love seat/jack knife bed that we replaced with my new desk.  So we delivered it to them.  Hey, anything for a party!

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Ingrid and I had a good laugh when we both showed up with the same tee shirt on!  We both had fallen in love with Moab Utah last year and ended up buying the same Moab tee shirt.  Birds of a feather….

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Here is Mike and Al solving the problems of the world again.  You’d think they would have it all worked out by now.  Pictures are courtesy of Ingrid’s blog.

04 lakemead-069

05 lakemead-163

Time was running out for Mike and I to spend some time up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along Highway 395.  So we headed up to June Lake in the hopes of seeing the display of fall colors.  And we timed it perfectly!

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

Daily visitors

Daily visitors

08 2014 Oct - June Lake - P1010483 Deer in camp

09 2014 Oct - June Lake - IMG_0515

The weather was PERFECT!  About 80 degrees, perfectly clear sky, very gentle breeze, perfect in every way.  We took a hike up a mountain trail that gave us a great view of June Lake and Gull Lake.  It was quite a climb!  The thin air made it even more difficult.  Thought we were going to die.

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

There are so many interesting things to see and do in this area, that it is difficult to choose.  We had heard about a few fascinating attractions that we just had to see for ourselves.  The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established in 1981 to preserve the limestone “tufa tower” formations.  Did you know this lake is over 1 million years old?  The towers are formed as the calcium-rich springs flow up from the lake bottom.  The calcium bonds to carbonates in the water to form a type of limestone, which then builds on itself to create these towers.  As the water level of Mono Lake decreased, the towers were exposed and, of course, stopped growing.  It’s amazing (and sad) to realize how much water is gone from Mono Lake.  But the tufa towers were awesome to see.

South Tufa's - Mono Lake

South Tufa’s – Mono Lake

All of this used to be under water.

All of this used to be under water.

Mike was hungry and ready to find the place that makes the lobster taquitos that everyone raves about.  We found it in Lee Vining behind the Mobil Gas Station.  The lobster taquitos came with spicy black beans, a mango salad and broccoli slaw.  We also got a plate of their carnitas.  It was quite good!

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining – Carnitas Tacos and Lobster Taquitos

With full bellies, we drove up to see the ghost town of Bodie, which became a State Historic Park in 1962.  It is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay”.  It was a wicked and lawless town where “killings occurred with monotonous regularity”.  In 1879, Bodie had a population of 10,000 people and 65 saloons.  It was described as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion”.  I love the “arrested decay” style of preservation.  Like it is frozen in time.  What’s left of it anyway.  You can wander around the empty streets and peak in the windows of houses and buildings and see the things that were left behind.  It was surreal.

Bodie - State Historic Park

Bodie – State Historic Park

A ghost town now

A ghost town now

17 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_033852

The school house

The school house

19 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_032640

The drive up to Bodie was beautiful, too!

Fall colors all around!

Fall colors all around!

16 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_036377

 

Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is another National Monument that we wanted to see.  The column formations were formed from basalt lava which flowed here 82,000 years ago and fractured by a glacier passing through about 20,000 years ago.  Subsequent earthquakes felled many columns that now lie fragmented below the postpile.

Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile

Oh, the forces of nature!

Oh, the forces of nature!

We continued hiking past Devils Postpile to the 101 foot Rainbow Falls.  Then we took the 95 steps to the bottom of the falls for a better view (and enjoyed a picnic lunch down there).

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

23 2014 Oct - Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls Hike - IMG_0527

The hiking opportunities in the Mono Lake Ranger District are endless.  We enjoyed as many as we could and we will definitely return to this area again for more.  The hike to Parker Lake required a 2-mile drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to the trailhead, but it was worth it.

Parker Lake Trail

Parker Lake Trail

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake - 4 miles roundtrip

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake – 4 miles roundtrip

Now we were ready to take on a more difficult hike.  We knew we just HAD to complete the highly recommended 8-mile hike through the Virginia Lakes.  Again, we had perfect weather.  And again, we were gasping for air when we got to the steep climbing part at the summit.  Wow, this thin air really makes a difference!  But, I’ll tell you this was an amazing hike.  It ranks right up there with the best of the best in terms of beauty.

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

We're climbing now.

We’re climbing now.

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

The view from the top!

The view from the top!  The trail passed all of those lakes.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Breakfast at the popular Silver Lake Resort Cafe on the June Lake Loop was a great way to begin the celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary, and a great way to wrap up our visit to June Lake.  Everything was perfect!

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Cheers!

20 thoughts on “The Month of Many Lakes – Oregon-Nevada-California

  1. Cheers ! and here’s to 23 more years. Only two places that we need to explore Ashland and Lake Mead and thanks for the sneak. Otherwise, this stretch of CA on highway 395 is our favorite! I think you need to come back, to boondock at Alabama Hills in Lone Pine and a visit to Ancient Bristlecones. (unless you have been there already but missed reading it)
    And Im really impressed that you and Mike went out of your way to deliver the couch. Great friends indeed.

  2. How nice of you to carry your love seat around for Ingrid and Al! You are definitely good friends:)

    All of these areas are on my list. I love all of your hikes. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
    Boy that altitude really takes it out of you. I totally understand where you are coming from! Did you know that pilots in small planes (think single engine) have to use oxygen if they are at 10,000 ft!? Our son is a pilot and was a flight instructor. He thought it was interesting to read about us hiking at 12,500 ft without oxygen. I certainly could have used the oxygen for sure!

    What a neat little ghost town! It truly looks like time just stopped one day and everyone disappeared.

    Happy Anniversary! Beautiful place to celebrate

    • The altitude really makes a difference. I could have used some oxygen, too! But it was certainly worth the extra effort. Those hikes were just great! Glad they are on your list. Thank you for the anniversary wishes!

  3. WOW! What an amazing post of amazing photos. I enjoyed being a fly on the wall and/or tree! I need to bookmark this area and go visit sometime! Happy Anniversary! ❤

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