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Posts from the ‘National Forest’ Category

Pine Creek Campground

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Forty-eight hours post arrival, there is not much to report from our campsite in Pine Creek Campground.  We arrived Sunday afternoon to temperatures flirting with upper 80’s levels, which for us is akin to an inferno.  Since then, Mother Nature has been behaving in a schizophrenic manner, seemingly incapable of choosing between thundering rain storms or blue skies.

At least the temperatures are now hoovering at pleasant levels, which I suppose is about all one can ask for.

As for Kelly and me, we’ve had our noses pointed mostly at our laptop screens.  In other words – routine days with nothing especially significant or interesting to report.

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Closing The Mileage Gap

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As mentioned in my last post, we left Ketchum, ID on Sunday afternoon knowing we had to close 825 miles by the July 4th weekend.  Accordingly, we set our sites on Stoddard Creek Campground, 180 miles down the road.

About three hours later, having covered a mix of highways, gravel roads, and interstates, we arrived to this fairly small National Forest Campground, which will be our home through the work week.  We now find ourselves nestled under a thick canopy of evergreen trees, which, while problematic for our rooftop solar panels, does provide plenty of anchor points for our hammock.

It’s been a few months – far too long really, since we’ve had an opportunity to enjoy the hammock, so the trade-off for quality sunshine seems like a good one.  And, we have portable panels to keep our batteries from draining, so there isn’t any significant downside.  Anyway, not one to waste time … with a book in hand, last night after dinner Kelly made sure to begin catching up on #hammocktime.

Ahhh …

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On Friday we pulled-up anchor from the Bay Area and hauled-ass as quickly as we could … our destination being a rendezvous with friends in a rather non-Bay Area like location.  About 4.5 hours later and we arrived to a national forest campground outside of Portola, CA (about an hour NW of Reno, NV) with plans to spend the week with friends.

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Away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area, and nestled in at just under 6,000 feet of elevation, we are back in our happy place.  With friends and surrounded by a massive mountain lake, clean alpine air, and lots of tall pine trees, this spot is just the first of what will be a long string of national forest campgrounds we will be visiting over the next three months.

Just perfect.

Loving the Yeti

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When I was in college (a really long time ago) I used to mountain bike quite a bit.  Then, I began flirting with road bikes … which eventually led to a full-on love affair with skinny wheels.

For the next 12 years I covered thousands of miles, but all of them via blacktop.  But, every so often I caught myself dreaming about a day when I would once again ride the trails with a huge grin locked across my face, and enjoying every minute.

As we were preparing for life on the road, I sold my road and triathlon bikes, and in the process closed a chapter on an aspect of my life I will always look back upon fondly.

Recently, I bought a new mountain bike (Yeti SB95) and lucky for me our current boondocking spot happens to be about 20 feet from a trailhead.

The downhills are awesome.

Waking-Up To Perfect

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Generally we try to avoid driving at night – especially when venturing into unfamiliar locations like a mountainous national forest.  But today, knowing that we would be venturing into a first come – first serve destination ahead of a what is sure to be a busy holiday weekend, we decide to go it.

Waking up this morning, it was clear that this boondocking spot about 90 minutes west of Denver is going to be awesome.  Clearly, I have a weekend full of mountain biking and trail running in my future.

Thanks @sethkhughes for the recommendation!

Retreating to Flagstaff

Kelly and I left the Bay Area six weeks ago, but due to various family and work commitments, it wasn’t until last week that we really began our lives on the road.  Escaping southern Arizona, we retreated into the elevation and cooler temperatures to the north.

For years I have heard good things about the town of Flagstaff and was excited to visit, and especially happy to be joining our pals Brian & Leigh for 10 days of dispersed camping at Walnut Canyon, located in the Coconino National Forest.  Much of the forest is at high altitude (averaging  7,000 feet) and is home to the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America.   Even better, our campsite was only about 15 minutes from super cool downtown Flagstaff – everything about this set-up was perfect.

Last night (Wednesday) I left the cozy campground in Flagstaff to return to San Francisco for a few days of face-time in the office.  Now here I sit typing, reflecting on a great 10 days  – mainly, that despite long work days, Kelly and I managed to pack a lot into our visit …

  • met a number of (new to us) fellow full-timers (Horton’s Travels, 2WanderawayFinding Marshall, & Jen)
  • wandered through a national monument site
  • got lost amongst the various forest service roads
  • helped Brian & Leigh complete much need repairs to their Airstream
  • explored Flagstaff while eating good food, enjoying locally brewed beers, and sipping delicious espresso

I think this life on the road will be just fine.

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Visiting The Sierra Nevada Mountains

Over the years I have heard countless praise for the Eastern Sierras, but have never had a good opportunity to visit.  Specifically, I’ve been itching to spend time wandering the highly acclaimed Hwy 395 (California) corridor, which travels from suburban Los Angeles northbound through Oregon before terminating at the US-Canada border.   Over a distance roughly 560 miles, this scenic  byway boasts some of the most beautiful mountains in the west.

On the heels of a stay in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows, our first stop was the popular Oh Ridge Campground, a national forest campground adjacent to June Lake.

Descending Tioga Pass

Descending Tioga Pass

I’d heard that the descent out of Yosemite along Tioga Pass can be a bit harrowing in tow.  As this was my first big mountain decent with the Airstream, 12 miles of mostly shoulder-less, steep grade with just enough sharp turns included had me sufficiently stressed out.  In end, the descent wasn’t too bad, but I was plenty happy to have that portion of the trip behind me.

Tioga Pass road officially ends at Hwy 395, but on a strong recommendation from my neighbor, we stopped a bit short of its termination point in order to spent a few hours hiking through Lee Vining Canyon.

Winding next to a small creek, the canyon trail connects a number of wonderful forest service campgrounds.  Primitive, quiet, solar-friendly, and offering cheap prices (especially if you have an interagency pass), these campgrounds are a jewel.  Given their close proximity to Yosemite’s east entrance, coupled with a fraction of the crowds, you can bet I’ll likely stay at one of these sites when I next visit Yosemite.

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Brother-in-law Chris, Kelly, and Dave

Brother-in-law Chris, Kelly, and Dave

Arrival to Oh Ridge was about as easy as I could hope.  The park was nearly empty and excluding the handful of direct waterfront sites, we had our pick of the campground.  Oh Ridge is lovely and I’d highly recommend it as a “home base” for many excursions.  Within an hour’s drive to the north or south, many day hiking options are available across a wide variety of terrain.

Our Oh Ridge Campsite

Our Oh Ridge Campsite

Playing with Lilly in June Lake

Playing with Lilly in June Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Having concluded a few nights at Oh Ridge, it was time to push about 1.5hrs south to our boondocking site north of Bishop. Using social media insights from other bloggers, we narrowed into a section of BLM land and snagged a great site about 15 minutes north of town.

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

I’d heard a lot of good feedback regarding the town of Bishop, but I’m still not sure if I can give a strong endorsement.  That said, the surrounding area is A+ and for that reason, I’d highly recommend Bishop, less for the town, but more because of the abundant surrounding outdoor playland.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Also, there is a Ford dealer in Bishop, which provided me an opportunity to test-drive a new truck.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the ride quality of the new diesel-powered F-250, which now has me thinking upgrade …