It has been a busy couple weeks so I am just now getting around to typing up my August 22ndtrip up the Owens Valley and to many of my favorite places for a fast extended weekend trip. After all one of our original mottos was “For professionals who adventure”, what this means is many of the trip we do are within reach of a three or four day weekend where you don’t have to leave your life behind to write Walden 2 or some other life changing novel (it is totally of if you do by the way). So we have a six to eight hour max driving bubble and have learned some tricks of the trade in our travels.
Like step one volunteer for medical research, well I really did and that was the reason I headed up. Stanford Wilderness Medicine was doing a study on the dosages of Diamox a common treatment for dealing with high altitudes. They had free food and lodging so I was in! After I convinced Mrs. Kit Fox that this was necessary for humanity, I began my planning…
I didn’t have to be up there until six pm on Friday so I hatched a plan to maximize my time in the Ownes Valley. Step one; leave directly from work early, one of the greatest joys in life is changing into your trail cloths in the gym and having all of you gear packed and the road in front of you. I have done the highway 15 to highway 395 shuffle many a time and I knew I had a limited window to get through the traffic so I left at three on a Thursday. Another upside of that especially this time of the year is driving through the desert in the evening and at night, I think it is better for the car and me. I broke up my trip and decided to make it a little bit more palatable so my goal was to hit Lone Pine.
Step two; Stop by Elevation Sierra Adventure Essentials, I’m not saying this just because Jon in my friend in fact we became friends over my years of coming up and what an amazing shop and staff they have there. I arrived up there around eight thirty and they were open which was awesome with their hours keeping the light on until nine. I can’t stress how cool this is especially for hikes that forgot something or need a rental; while other stores have been closed for a while they are still up and ready to help. So I always make it a point to stop in say high and find out the local conditions before heading out, and you should too.
Step three; Time to camp, my favorite campsite is Tuttle Creek, it is in the Alabama Hills and you wake up with amazing views of Whitney and the Eastern Sierras. It is a simple BLM campsite with pit toilets and trash cans (this trip I had to bring in my own water). This place is easy affordable and makes a great way point when traveling up here and need a place to sleep. The down side unfortunately is this time of the year the Owens Valley gets a little warm the second the sun comes out so I was incentivized by the heat to get going in the Morning.
Friday was off to a good start and I had all day to keep myself entertained so I headed off to the Alabama Hills for a little exploration. I got a short little hike in and did as much off roading as a two wheel drive full size pickup will let you. So I played it safe before getting stuck and headed back down to the highway. I figured I would get some chow between Lone Pine and Bishop and was feeling breakfast, the down side and maybe a local can help here but I really didn’t find anything like a dinner open and if you have seen me you know I was in danger of wasting away so I was lucky to have stumbled upon the Copper Top BBQ, I was saved. This was some pretty good BBQ and I will definitely be back there again, it had an awesome old school vibe and the people where as great as the food.
Having sworn not to starve again I made my way to Mahogany Smoked Meats in Bishop for a resupply of snacks for one of my favorite parts of the day, fishing… I had always driven by Sierra Trout Magnets one of the local fly shops and it seemed to be closed, but not today. Luck for me I was able to stop by and chat, this is always a fun part of the trip and the crew there is awesome. I found out what was biting, picked up a couple fly’s and headed further north up the Owens Valley to enjoy a couple hours of Fly Fishing. It was soon very apparent why he had suggested the grasshoppers and I was casting in the main stream with my Tenkara rod. Just to be clear I am the reason it is called fishing and not catching. But it was awesome worked my way down to one of the slower moving side streams and that’s where I was having my “luck” by luck I mean I got a couple good hits and lost a fly so I was doing something ok I guess, just not all ok, haha. Now While I was having a lot of fun I felt as if my fun meter was being slowly drained, yeah that was my blood because I was being eaten alive by mosquitos. Like I was impressed out of nowhere here they came, I will be investing in pants…
So on that note I figured it was about time to head back to town and start finding where I needed to be. No I did zig when I was supposed to zag so there was a little bit of time lost but I will just chalk it up to “Adventure” But I eventually found my way to the University Of California White Mountain Research Center, Owens Valley Station, this place was really cool its like a small summer camp like grounds with dorm rooms and a chow hall. I checked in and the crew from Stanford Medical was super cool and we all got settled in and got to meet our fellow campers over the evening. They gave us our meds and told us what the study entailed and we had it pretty easy they took out vitals and then we did a test where the checked our cranial pressure or something along those lines, remember I was the monkey not the researcher.
Talk about a busy day and a half right, want to know more about my trip well tune in next week when I talk about chapter 2 “White Mountain”….