Stargazing Calendar |
Art Galley |
Ladera Ranch, Ca, 92694
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Stargazing Calendar |
Art Galley |
As usual with the Cosmonaut crew, we find ourselves arriving at camp late into the night, but a starry sky is always a great greeting even at 2am.
Being so late, we wrap up the stargazing after an hour & head off to bed.
That's right! Sunrise! The Eastern Sierras are notorious for their alpine glow in the early morning.
First light brings a wave of warmth to our lakeside campsite after a 30 degree night.
With the rest of the crew now awake, we head off to a dense strip of Cottonwoods running along a mountainside creek.
Like a sea of green, we find ourselves surrounded in a mesmerizing glow.
Deciding to test our luck, we head down to the lake & cast out a line in the hope of snagging some trout.
While the day quickly heated up, what looks like a refreshing swim was more of a polar plunge. These snowmelt fed lakes rarely warm much.
A quick brew break gets the ole' blood flowing again.
Roadtrips are always filled with lots of laughs & wild hikes, but some of the best moments simply involve quietly taking in the scenery as the mind wanders.
Doesn't take long for the laughs to return though as this is what happens when a bee lands on (or near) these two.
No luck fishing sends us on a hike to see if we can reach the top of a massive waterfall we spotted far off from camp.
Much of the hike was more like a climb, making for a really rad excursion.
The noon-day sun had us cooking, so a mid-hike snow patch provided the ultimate cool down.
Since the entire hike was essentially adjacent to the river we consistently found ourselves taking breaks to admire the powerful cascades.
Every so often, rainbows would appear in the mist of the falls.
Upon reaching a steep drop-off, we search for a safe way to cross.
A precariously placed, water-soaked log offers the safest crossing.
This is what trail buddies are for.
Once across we reach a beautiful section with raging cascades. It was hard not to constantly stop simply to take in our surroundings (okay, maybe we were a little tired).
Damn Nature! Each progression upward seemed to reveal an even greater section of the falls. We thought it was big, but we had no idea! Tiny as an ant, you can barely see one of the crew.
To proceed we had to navigate a vertical section of granite with a conveniently placed rope. Shoutout to whoever climbed this unaided to secure the rope!
Atop the rope we find the waterfall absolutely raging.
Directly behind us we get a rad view of the lakes below where we began.
We discover that we can get even closer to the falls, but struggle to find dry patches of granite. When wet, granite is like a slippin' slide.
While probably not the smartest thing, getting this close to the falls was a sensational feeling.
The thunderous charge of water sent mist flying wildly. It was a refreshing escape from the afternoon heat.
Getting blasted by the sun, the melting winter snowpack fed the fall's torrent rush with an abnormally large amount of water.
Sufficiently soaked we begin our descent, motivated by the plan to grab a tasty beverage at June Lakes Brewery.
No beer spilt! We crack open an appetizer brew as we slide down the sporadic snow chutes.
Even on the way back down we consistently find new & spectacular views.
Nature seems to offer a rare opportunity to hone one's inner child, simply wandering wherever curiosity leads.
As we approach the end of our hike, we take one final peak at the last cascade.
We made it to the brewery! And of course we had to get a souvenir growler. Seriously top-knotch brew.
Back at camp we cast another line in hopes of snagging some fish for dinner.
Once again striking out with the fish, we race against time to make it to Mono Lake before sunset.
This alien landscape is dotted with tufa towers, formed under water when the lake level was higher.
Once we reach the lake's edge we find half-submerged towers rising like some strange amphibious castles.
Its easy to imagine this is a lake on an alien planet. Its 2.5x saltier than the ocean, yet it still harbors tiny shrimp & other lifeforms.
The uncanny appearance of this place made for a spectacular sunset spot.
The clouds rolled in at the perfect time, as the setting sun crowned them in light.
Exhausted after a full day of misadventuring, we wind down next to the a blazing campfire in the middle of Blue Hour. Since we forgot one of our tents, we had to sleep 3 people in a 1-person tent.
Another beautiful sunrise in the Sierras. Surprisingly even with the limited tent space we got a great sleep.
Up on the mountainside I spot a gang of wildflowers blooming. Along the climb up, I glimpse a family of deer, but they quickly scurry to higher elevation.
The best part about Sierra wildflowers is the varied blooming periods among different species, allowing them to be spotted from May through September. These flowers are the Arrow-leaved Balsam-root.
Back on the June Lake Loop, I walk past a stretch of Cottonwoods casting shadow puppets across the pavement.
Cottonwoods only grow where water is prevalent & soon its clear there is a stream running directly under the road on its course to the lake.
Eager to get in some final fishing before the 7-hour drive back home, we head to the edge of the tranquil Convict Lake.
While half the crew fishes, the other half takes off on a hike to circumnavigate the lake & view where the "New Sierras" run into the "Old Sierras".
The silvery granite peak is an estimated 80 million years younger than the volcanic sedimented mountain. Crazy to think the old range eroded away & was replaced almost completely.
This hike is a geologist's paradise. The trail was littered with varying rock types & signs of the Sierra's seismic origins.
Even in late Spring & early Summer, there is frequently snow on the trail in the Sierra Nevadas. Walking without traction, we methodically crossed to assure we didn't slip & slide into the lake.
Once we reach a bridge crossing over a large fanned-out creek, we take the opportunity to cool down a bit.
As the trip comes to its end, we absorb some final moments in the Mountains before we return to civilization. Responsibilities are always more satisfying when we're spending our free time wisely.
Four! The raddest finds are in the middle of nowhere. Heading south on Hwy. 395 we spot a roadside yard sale & couldn't resist checking out its corky trinkets. See you next Misadventure comradres!
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