July 4th weekend was a busy one travel wise for the Kit Fox crew as it had us speeding up to Bishop California via the trusty old US 395 to pick up our buddy Brice (of Brice Weaver Photography fame) from his John Muir Trail (JMT) hike. Like most of these trips with the dog sitter in place and a few rounds of husband and wife banter about packing we loaded up the car with one of our favorite couples the Cyrus’s.
Surprisingly for a 4th of July weekend traffic was mild and we quickly made it to our first stop Rancho Cucamonga for a little lunch and picking up fishing licenses at bass Pro Shops, that being said I have two schools of thought when it comes to the Owens Valley, 1.If you are going to be getting into the Owens Valley later like after eight pm Rancho Cucamonga is great because it has a tone of food options, gas stations and a Bass Pro and REI. If you actually need something are running late and have an early morning this is the place to stop, buuut 2. Do everything you can to support local business, up there is no shortage of extremely well equipped stores staffed by amazing knowledgeable people. Truth be told these “small” stores often have larger selections of quality gear you actually need than many big box out door stores and at good prices.
So obviously we had to stop by Elevation Sierra Adventure Essentials to see our buddy John and his staff, great people and a part of every visit to this area. If you want some good Gouge on the area this is the place and it is also located conveniently at the base of Mt Whitney Portal Road in Lone Pine so it is super easy to find. After catching up and finding out what was up with the fire on the portal road, oh yea there was a fire and we could not get a hold of Brice initially, great times. We had gotten a hold of Brice who had hiked out a day early into Bishop and hour away. Unfortunately (for Brice) we had taken our time and had another hour to get Brice from Lone Pine.
When we got Brice the real adventure began…find a camp site on 4th of July weekend. Surprisingly not that bad I will cut out the dram and get to the point, we had planned on hobo camping and dirt bagging it if we could not find a spot but we lucked out and let me share this luck with you. We stayed at the Pleasant Valley Pit campground a simple BLM site, there is pit toilets, dumpsters and the campsites have a picnic table and fire ring, bring your own water. But for two dollars a night it’s a steal!
We had a late night hydrating with Colorado’s finest while discussing the tin foil hat conspiracies that make camp fire debates fun that being said morning came quickly. The best way I can describe it is desert style camping with no shade and its a million degrees the second the sun comes up. With the heat we headed into town and grabbed some chow then turned our sites onto catching some trout. We took Chalk Bluff Rd to one of the many parking spots and headed into the Owens River to try our luck with improvised fishing rigs, there was no Luck, but lots of fun.
Thankfully we had burned enough time to head to the real reward of the trip, Brice had thought ahead and reserved a campsite at the Whitney Portal which is quite the score. We happily headed to higher elevations and I enjoyed Whitney Portal road for the first time in day light and without snow and ice, it was glorious. Brice had out done himself and we had an awesome campsite with amazing views and after quickly setting up camp we were at the fishing pond after mountain trout haha.
I will save you the boring details of our car camping adventure or the fact the fish where not bighting. The fact that we were able to sleep in and not wake up in ovens while the sun came up was amazing. The trip home was like any other post adventure weekend with one exception, if you see a roadside Jerky shop in an abandoned gas station that looks like you are going to get murdered, stop there and pick up some Jerky it is really good and the guys there are great.