Eastern sierras camping trip part 3. Rock creek canyon

 

 

Rock creek canyon is one of my favorite places to camp for a couple nights along the Highway 395 corridor. A few beautiful hikes from the Mosquito flats trailhead. You can go into Little lakes valley. Most popular of the hikes. Or you can go up to Ruby lake and on to Mono pass. You can also climb up to Dorothy lake . I think there are a couple other hikes as well that I have not yet done.  There are quite a few campgrounds on this 10 mile road.  I prefer the Lower pines campground. It is close to Rock creek lake and close to the trailhead.  There is also Rock creek lake resort that has some cabins for rent and a small shop and restaurant.  Many people go there for the home made pie !

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Rock Creek is located on the west side of Highway 395 at Rock Creek Road. This 20-mile valley is easy to find between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, California, at a turnoff from Highway 395 at the exit for Tom’s Place. Once you begin the ascent along the 10-mile paved road into gorgeous creekside terrain, the options for summer and winter outdoor recreation unfold before you. Rock Creek Canyon is famous for Little Lakes Basin, where a string of high-elevation lakes are linked by leisurely hiking trails surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks.

Park at the road’s end to see the best of Rock Creek on foot. Expect blazing colors in fall – some of the brightest anywhere in the Eastern Sierra – as well as wildflowers in spring and sparkling lakes in summer. Dogs are ok on a leash. Little Lakes Trail: Also known as Mosquito Flats trail, the Little Lakes Trail is a beautiful and popular hike at the top of upper Rock Creek Canyon, accessed by the main signed trail leading from the parking lot at the road’s end. With the potential to hike to Mono Pass, four miles and 2,000 feet up, many hikers simply stop to take in the views after reaching one of the lakes along the way: Mack Lake, Marsh Lake, Heart Lake, Box Lake, Long Lake, Gem Lake and Chickenfoot Lake. The trail offers dramatic views of surrounding Sierra peaks, excellent wildflowers in spring and early summer, and vibrant fall colors. Popular with fishermen and day hikers.

 

This time when I went to Rock creek canyon there was still quite a bit of snow about 3 miles in on the trail. I did not make the hike all the way to beautiful gem lake because I was not really into hiking thru this snow. There  is someone ahead of me on the trail with ski’s on. This was early June . Of course we did get some snow in May so it was taking awhile to melt out.

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still some snow due to our late snowfall this spring.

Here are some photos of gem Lake another time when there was no snow. Gem lake is a beautiful turquoise and green color.

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Here are a few of the other lakes on the trail.

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Eastern Sierras part 2. Mono lake

walkway to tufa state park
walkway to tufa state park

fullsizeoutput_2309Mono lake doesn’t look like much when you drive by although  it is very pretty , especially at certain times of the day as the colors can change on the lake. It is in a high desert setting just behind the Sierra mountains. In fact Highway 120 connects from mono lake and goes up and over the sierras to Yosemite.

From Wikipedia: Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 6,378.

I think to get the full beauty of it you need to stop off and take a walk at either south Tufa state park or Mono lake park to see the tufas. Sunrise or sunset are incredible times to make that stop. The town of Lee Vining is there if you want to stay the night in a hotel. Or several campgrounds up highway 120 which connects at mono lake.

Tufa state park is like walking on the moon. Very amazing formations.fullsizeoutput_22fafullsizeoutput_22f9fullsizeoutput_22ecfullsizeoutput_22e5

 

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Another interesting spot on the lake is the Black fissures. A little hard to find but well worth checking out. Ask at the visitor center how to get there. _MG_4484.jpg

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Photographers line up nightly to get that perfect sunset photo at the Tufas.

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Mono lake is well  worth the visit !!!

Camping and hiking trip for 7 days to Eastern Sierras. Part 1

In between house sitting I recently went on a 7 day camping and hiking trip in the Eastern sierras. I have visited this area many times and one of my favorite campgrounds is Aspen . It is located on highway 120 a few miles up from Lee Vining as you go towards Yosemite.  Aspen is quiet and peaceful  although it has a creek running through with some cascading waterfalls at the top of the campground. The waterfalls can be quite loud!!  I actually dreamed of cars crashing one night from the sound of the falls. Here are a couple photos of the campground and the falls.

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Fairly nice campground although it does only have pit toilets. It is $12 per night and $6 with the Senior pass.

Normally , in the past I have had my dog Jasper with me but he passed a couple years ago so this time I went into Yosemite a couple of times to hike . No dogs allowed on trails there. I entered from Tuolumne Meadows entrance and nothing was open yet as far as the lodge or campground so it was a nice tine to do some hiking there with no crowds.

My first day was a doozer of a hike as in 10 to 12 miles round trip. Not a lot of elevation gain but a lot of distance. The trail was from Tuolumne meadows to Glen Aulin and beyond .

Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp is an established campground—one of six High Sierra Camps—located in Glen Aulin next to the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park in California, in the Sierra Nevada.

I went just short of the actual camp but far enough to see the series of cascading waterfalls that are just above the camp. Amazing hike. Very beautiful the whole way, Relatively flat and easy. Some uphill but elevation gains of only about 800 ft. for this hike.  You have to hike in about 4.5 miles or so to get to where the waterfalls start.

Here are photos along the trail and then leading up to the falls. Right after the bridge , keep going to reach the falls . Just Beautiful !!! And the views  are amazing as well.  This first group of photos  is along the first couple miles of trail as you meander along the Tuolumne river. So peaceful and pretty.

You come to a bridge about 4 miles or more in. Don’t stop here because it is downhill another 1/2 mile or more  to the series of waterfalls that are not to be missed !!

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The bridge

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The Waterfalls !!!  I would rate this hike a 10 for the beauty of the whole trail and the magnificent waterfalls.

The next day I did another hike in Yosemite to Elizabeth lake. This was a 5 mile round trip hike with a 1000 ft. elevation gain . The trail head is located in the Tuolumne meadows campground at the back of B loop.  Elizabeth lake is a small lake located below Unicorn peak and  the scenery around it was very beautiful.

My next post will be about Lundy Canyon and More waterfalls !!

House sitting in Truckee and Lake Tahoe for most of the summer.

It looks like I will be house sitting in Truckee and Tahoe all summer. Have a few lined up thru most of August with a few days off here and there.

This is fine with me. Truckee ,Ca. is my hometown  and I was gone all last summer house sitting in Washington and Oregon. Then I was house sitting for 2 months this winter in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. . I missed Truckee in the summer. Did not miss it so much in winter. It is one of the best places to be in summer. Beautiful weather with a lot of outdoor activities . There are  Lakes, rivers, hiking , swimming , and tons of free music in the summer.  I may do a post on just the music that goes on here and several on hiking trails in the area. Of course if you are big into skiing or boarding then it is also a great place in winter !! Winter is beautiful , however I am finding a break from the snow to be very nice !!

Truckee is a small town in the high Sierras at an elevation of 5800 with a population of around 16,000. Here is an article about Truckee being named coolest ski town. https://www.truckeesun.com/news/sports/truckee-named-no-1-coolest-ski-town-in-north-america/.

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Here are some photos of the beauty that surrounds Truckee.

Lake Tahoe is just a short 12 miles from Truckee. Lake Tahoe in photos below .

So yeah ! House sitting in Tahoe and Truckee cant be to bad. Can it !

Here are just some of the pets I take care of in Truckee and  Tahoe.

 

San Miguel De Allende is a Romantic town with many weddings, and engagements.

San Miguel De Allende is the wedding capitol of Mexico or so I have heard. I believe it too.

Every weekend in the Jardin which is the center of town there seems to be a few weddings going on. And engagements. I saw many engagements and weddings. The weddings usually involve the whole party parading thru town with mariachis in tow and sometimes large dancing people, donkeys carrying tequila for the wedding party, etc..

Mariachis play every night at the Jardin in San Miguel . On weekends there will be several different groups of musicians playing and many times you will see a proposal going on with the man on his knees offering the engagement ring while mariachis play in the back ground.

 

 

Pet sitting in Fort Bragg, Ca.

I just recently got done with a 16 day house and pet sit in Fort Bragg, CA.

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Years ago when I traveled to the east coast I would tell people that I was from California and some would say  Oh, Los Angeles? or isn’t it all city and desert there ?? So, many folks who have never been to California don’t seem to realize that Northern Ca. is so diffferent and in fact are amazed when I tell them that where I come from is snow and some years, tons of it. I am from Truckee, CA. in the high sierras.

So, Fort Bragg is on the northern Ca. coast which is pristine, dramatic, beautiful and not at all like the more crowded Southern Ca. coastline. A lot of very small towns scattered along the Northern Ca. coast. , redwoods, and dramatic cliffside windy drives that you better pay attention to while driving. Fort Bragg is one of these small seaside towns

The house I stayed was in the woods. The dogs where Nelly and Dougall.

Anyone who knows border collies knows they are dogs that need exercise. Both dogs have competed in agility competition. They where both sweet and we did a daily 2 hours walk sometimes at the beach and sometimes around the neighborhood.  Nelly is obsessed with chasing other critters and there are a LOT of deer around there! I had heard that there was also a mountain lion sighting as well as a fox sighting. So, one day she was totally obsessed with something out in the yard and managed to dig a hole under the fence and get out. Her colar was also hooked to the fence so no tags on her. Ughh. The owner had warned me that she has gotten out at times but they didn’t think she would. Needless to say, I was beside myself for the 4 hours she was gone. I could sometimes hear her barking down below what was a steep embankment behind the house. When she did show up she was a filthy mess with all kinds of debris stuck to her beautiful plume of a tail and full of stinky and mud. It had just rained a couple inches. So glad to have her back !! She got a bath and looked spanking clean. I also patched up the fence and kept an eye on her when in the yard.

Losing someones dog while house sitting is my worst nightmare for this job. Here are the dogs. Dougall sitting up. Nelly the smaller whiter one.

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Some photos of the beautiful coastline along the Mendocino county coast. 

In Fort Bragg there is a waterfront area called Noyo Harbor with a few restaurants, fishing boats, whale watching trips ,etc.. I went there a couple times , once for dinner at the Wharf restaurant and one day for lunch  to a place call Jangles Rough bar that has some nice music on sat. and Sunday  afternoons. I have to say that I was lucky to have the nice weather while  I was there. Often times the northern coastline is foggy for a good part of the day. It was sunny most of the times with  2 days of heavy rain.

Noyo Harbor 

I have a friend named Sue who lives about 30 miles from Fort Bragg in a town called Willits and she came over a couple times . We went to the botanical gardens which is lovely and right on the coast and also dog friendly. We also went for a hike to the pygmy forest in Jug Handle state park. Really, everything in this  area is amazingly beautiful!

 

I was told by a few people not to miss the Pacific star winery which they said has the most beautiful view along this coastline and great for grabbing a glass or bottle of wine, bringing a picnic and just hang out in one of their many Adirondack chairs overlooking the coastline. If you are lucky you will see some whales !

They where right . I would have hated to miss this spot. So beautiful !!!!

I will end this post with some photos of the grounds of the Pacific star winery. 

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House sitting. San Miguel de Allende.

I had been house sitting for about a year when some  Ladies  named Andrea and Marianne,  who I knew thru a friend in Truckee reached out to me about coming to house sit in Mexico.   They  had moved to San Miguel De Allende , Mexico,  a couple years back. They said, Do you want to come here for 2 months and watch our dogs and house? Well, I had just read that San Miguel De Allende was voted in Travel and Leisure magazine as best city to travel to. Here is that article. http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/san-miguel-de-allende-photos . 

So, I said sure thing !!

Lovely house at  Malanquin golf club about 2.8 miles from el Centro which is the heart of San Miguel De Allende.  I would be taking care of  a little Doxie named Enrique and little white fluffy Mexico poodle  named Miguel. Here are some photos of where I stayed for most of the 2 months. And my little dogs. Enrique a sweet , cuddly little long haired Dachshund who was rescued from a early life of abuse and Miguel a little San Miguel De Allende street dog who lucked out and was taken off the street. There is an innteresting story about the Rebellious nuns who used to raise poodles to make money. Here is an excerpt from the book called “The Rebellious nuns”

Today the nuns make their money (every order, cloistered or not, must support itself as money doesn’t come from the Church) with their tamales (yummy) and cookies (dry).  At one point the order raised white purebred poodles to make money.  (There is an order of friars in New England well compensated for raising German Sheppards.)  One day a new bishop came to town and demanded the nuns stop raising poodles so they opened the doors and let them free.  That’s why San Miguel’s street dog population has that unique white poodle mix running through them.

The reason I posted this is because Miguel must be an offspring of these dogs. And because around every corner you see them in SMA , these white fluffy dogs. They are all over but of course mostly owned by people. In fact I saw very few street dogs in SMA.

I did not have a car in SMA  however it was easy enough to get around. Once in awhile I would walk to El Centro and take the bus back. In fact I spent a lot of time walking as there are so many little neighborhoods to see.  The bus cost 7 pesos to go as far as you want . 7 pesos is about 30 cents . Calling for a ride from Malanquin to town cost about 70 pesos. $3.00. There was a large store about a quarter mile down the road from the house and a couple restaurants across from that. I actually enjoyed just walking to the center of town a lot as then I would pass all the shops, restaurants, etc.. and see something new each time. Taking a taxi or bus back.

Over all I very much enjoyed the house sit  and hope to go back. The dogs are both sweet, the house lovely, and so much to see and do in and around SMA .  There is talk of me coming back next winter. The girls I house sat for travel a lot each year.

Here is my first view of El Centro and the Parroquia which is the famous Church of San Miguel de Allende and happens to look like a pink cake.  The Parroquia as one article says is a Grand, neo-Gothic 17th-century church known for its soaring pink spires & lofty, ornate sanctuary.

San Miguel De Allende has a lot going on . Music, plays, art, amazing architecture,  Mariachis nightly in El Centro. And did you know it is an Unesco world heritage site

San Miguel de Allende, UNESCO World Heritage Site

On July 8, 2008, San Miguel de Allende was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A remarkable example of 16th-century Spanish Colonial Baroque architecture, as well as a place of vital importance during the Mexican War of Independence, San Miguel de Allende was added to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list under the Historical City category. The city’s colonial authenticity and cultural integrity, and the excellent condition of its historic downtown (Centro Historico,) were key elements that contributed to the UNESCO designation.

It is also one of Mexico’s “Magic towns”. Read about that here:

It is also one of Mexicos “Magic towns “

When I first go to SMA I thought wow, it is crowded and it is on weekends. Many Mexicans from Mexico City and Guadalajara come to town.  But it all just adds to the excitement of the whole place . Lots of mariachis, music,  weddings, parades,  celebrations going on all the time Never boring. In fact I am going to do a whole post about all the activity in El Centro.

SMA is made up of many beautiful little neighborhoods, such as  Guadalupe with the Murals  I wrote about it here , Guadalupe Murals , a neighborhood in San Miguel de allende, Mexico. botanical gardens that I posted about here  El Charco del Ingenio Botanical gardens in San Miguel de allende at night. and here El Charco del ingenio , A botanical gardens in San Miguel de allende, Mexico.

There are hot springs, and ruins to go to as well as other towns of interest within an hour  or 2 drive. A few I made it to but still some I did not see. Which is reason to go back.

I only made it to one of the several hotsprings called  “La Gruta “. I really enjoyed it. Nice place to relax for the day. Complete with lounge chairs, shade, restaurant and bar and the cave.

Here are some photos of La Gruta.

I have already written a few posts on San Miguel De Allende but I experienced so much while there that I will be writing a few more in the future as well. Still have a lot to share from this beautiful city.

Here is an earlier post I did    San Miguel de Allende ,Mexico.

Another about our trip to see the Monarchs. Right here Monarchs el Rosario, Mexico

I had some time off from the house sit ( 10days )  and had friends who came to visit so did a lot of things when they where there.

Here are some parting shots for now

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I will re visit SMA in some future posts  but my next post will be about the beautiful Northern California coast where I am just ending a 2 week house sit with 2 sweet border collies. Had great weather so it was truly lovely.

Coming soon. Fort Bragg, California.

Guadalupe Murals , a neighborhood in San Miguel de allende, Mexico.

 

San Miguel de allende is an artist town. So full of artists and Musicians. Many are expats. But, just as many are Mexicans. There is a neighborhood in San Miguel de Allende where the mural artists of Mexico come to paint large, beautiful murals on the walls of the buildings.

 

Walking through the streets of the Colonia Guadalupe in the “dark side” of San Miguel, you feel as if you were in a youthful, indomitable, free art center that explodes and overflows with motivation and all thanks to an initiative taken up by Graffiti World, an organization that has worked very hard not only to transform the aesthetic environment of what previously was considered a dangerous neighborhood, but to ultimately change the social fabric, and the geogaphic location into a “safe place to take a walk”.

There are tours you can take in this neighborhood to learn more about the artists and the history of the Murals. A lady named Colleen does them. Info below.

  • Walking tours every MondayThursdayFriday
    Morning – 10-12:30
    Afternoon – 2-4:30
    Meet on the street in front of Via Organica
    300 pesos per person, no reservations required

    I am very proud of our Muros en Blanco project & I thoroughly enjoy sharing stories of the murals, artists, neighbors & how we all made it happen in 2013, when street art was still not permitted. Since then, more than 100 murals have been painted by local, national & international artists.

    Your participation helps to support the Artist Residence.
    See you on the street !
    Colleen

I never quite got around to taking her tour  however I did a tour of my own one day near the end of my 2 month stay and am so glad I did it. Would have hated to miss out on this beautiful area . Maybe next time I will take Colleen’s tour to learn more about the artists who do the murals.

It is a quite and quaint neighborhood and I just spent the day wandering about. Here are photos of some of the beautiful artwork.

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The new restaurant called Chilarillo

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New restaurant Chilarillo opened up in Guadalupe. Looked good. Organic and some vegan foods.

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There where many more murals then this.  I walked all day looking at them.

I also stopped here for lunch. Great little organic store with cafe. Lucky me, some roaming musicians stopped off to play a couple songs as well.  Via Organica is the name of the market, cafe and it is in Guadalupe .

 

 

El Charco del Ingenio Botanical gardens in San Miguel de allende at night.

I had the opportunity to go to a wonderful night time celebration concert at El Charco. It was a concert for the Equinox. Great music and the most amazing sunset of the week !! If you are ever in SMA and get a chance to see a show at the botanical gardens, then do go. You won’t be dissapointed. The setting is wonderful . You have to walk down a short ways and can sit anywhere.  There is a short video attached at the bottom of these photos. It was my last night in SMA at the end of a fabulous 2 month house sit. Good way to end the trip. If the video looks sideways, it will upright itself when clicked on. 20180318_191510

El Charco del ingenio , A botanical gardens in San Miguel de allende, Mexico.