Rock Creek Lake

We left Convict Lake Monday morning and headed to Rock Creek Lake and Creek. We were able to park the RV in campsite #7 right across from the lake and it is an RV spot all to itself. The front of the RV is facing west and the lake is in front of us. What a beautiful view we have.

We biked along the lakeside trail this morning and it was a little bit challenging for me because if you fall, you will slide down into the lake which is about 10ft or more at times below a very narrow trail. We were able to go 2/3’s of the way around it and then had to turn around and go the other direction because the trail is under water. Apparently, the place that we are parked in now had 25 ft of snow less than 2 months ago. There is so much water everywhere that everyone is talking about it. The runoff once again is so forceful and loud, it sounds like an airplane overhead.

Michael is fishing and I took Callie on a walk part of the way and had her ride in the backpack for awhile and walk on her leash and harness. There are so many dogs with their fishermen owners that it made me a little nervous to walk her, and it made Callie even a little bit more nervous, so we turned around and headed back to the RV.

While sitting with Michael as he fished, I watched an osprey attempting to escort a bald eagle away from the lake. The eagle was magnificent, but no match for the much smaller but agile, dive bombing and screaming in outrage, osprey. Michael and I saw it catch a fish earlier in the day and it flew straight up into the air, hesitated, then twisted and turned direction on a dime and plunged straight down into the cold, blue lake. It grasped a large trout in his or her talons and went completely under water for a second before popping back up with the fish wiggling helplessly as they both headed skyward. It was incredible to watch. The eagle had no choice but to leave because the osprey was so swift and outraged, it must have established this territory quite some time ago.

We are spending tonight and maybe tomorrow night depending on our propane and fresh water supply. Both say low to empty on the control panel, so we shall see. Michael claims there is more than enough for a couple of days. Charging up phones and computer takes the generator and the generator uses propane. Using the microwave is generator dependent too. The refrigerator can be used either propane or battery. We have done very well for two weeks of camping and are learning to dry camp efficiently.

We have decided to head home because Callie needs an X-ray due to her cough having returned. What an adventure we have had. Next time we head out, it may be to Canada!

The All Night Generator

We are staying at Convict Lake and for the first time camping in the RV, we have experienced a rude and thoughtless neighbor parked across from us. He is pulling a trailer and I have actually not seen who the person is. I won’t jump to conclusions and false assumptions, but I bet it is a man! Sorry all you men out there, but women don’t pull this type of trailer! *

Last night around 10:00 in the evening, long after my bedtime, our neighbor turned on his generator. In every Campground we have stayed in so far, quiet hour is from 10:00 pm to 7am. This is not a generator that sounds well maintained, and this only compounds the problem. It sputters and coughs and actually sounds a lot like Callie when she is purring. It has a rhythm all its own that is a consistent purr but then suddenly coughs and sputters loudly! When trying to get to sleep, I focused on the thought that it was Callie purring, and this helped me get to sleep. But the generator sounded more like Callie having another bout of viral pneumonia and this was not a soothing sound at all. A couple of days ago, Callie started to cough again and we are going to have to take her to the vet once more in hopes of getting her well. So listening to a generator mimic Callie being sick all night was not reassuring, nor relaxing at all!

Around 11:30 Michael had had enough of the noise and told me he was going over to tell them to turn it off. By then I was wide awake myself and told him to be careful and handle the situation without getting into a brawl. Michael will do everything he can to avoid conflict, but if an injustice is being played out, he is right there to enlighten the individual about it! When Michael opened up the door to head over to the trailer, he inadvertently let a mosquito in, which prompted me to shout at him to “shut the door and don’t let in any more mosquitos!” I then said “thank you so much for helping out!” when I realized how selfish I sounded. I wasn’t about to go over there and ask the neighbor myself, and the generator was making it really difficult to sleep.

Michael wasn’t gone more then 5 minutes, and when he returned, he let me know that he had banged on the door several times, quite loudly, and no one had answered. He thought the person was either passed out or had refused to answer the door. We ended up having to listen to the generator all night long, but with the help of an ear plug, I was once again able to partially pretend that it was Callie purring away so that I could stay calm and relaxed and not get all upset about the noise. I ended up having a pretty good night sleep in spite of it all, and Callie had a fabulous night sleep. I put her round fluffy pillow bed in the corner of the upper loft because it was chilly last night and a thunderstorm had passed overhead, and she snuggled into it and slept through the night. Maybe what Callie needs in order to get a good night sleep is a generator that sounds like her coughing and purring?

The next day when we got up, we complained to Dennis, the ranger host, and he too knocked on the trailer door and no one answered. He left a rules and regulations notice on the door and told me he may be hanging out with friends further down the campground. He promised to talk to him face to face before the end of the day. The trailer is still across the street so I am hoping I don’t have to listen to the generator all night again tonight. If I do, I shall once again pretend that it is Callie purring and try not to get too upset. Michael on the other hand will most certainly serve out justice if they are rude and inconsiderate once again!

• We found out that it is indeed a man and he is on dialysis…. Dennis had a talk with him and we are very sorry to hear of his health issues. The rules still hold though and generators have to be turned off after 10pm.
• Our neighbor once again chose to turn on his generator last night, all night long, and Michael and I had a discussion about the moral implications of his illness and his rights as someone who is sick, versus those of us who are trying to escape the noise of city life and enjoy nature. We think the park service should offer several sights like handicapped sights for people that have an illness that requires medical services that will impact campers around them. Put these camp sights on the edge of the campground and somewhat further away from the rest of the campers so the noise won’t be so loud. I think it should be required that someone who needs to be on dialysis check in with the neighbors around him and let them know of his medical requirements and that he will need to use a generator at night in order to hook up to his dialysis machine. He can then be moved if his neighbors are negatively impacted by it. He has a right to enjoy his life, but campers have a right to peace and quiet from 10pm to 7am. It is an interesting conundrum and Michael is going to share his thoughts with Dennis. Being a retired podiatrist, Michael is very familiar with the devastating impact diabetes has on an individual. The life expectancy of someone on dialysis is less than 10 years. Our neighbor is also being inconsiderate for having been told that he can’t have the generator on at certain hours and doing it anyway. I have not seen the guy and it would have been considerate of him to let us know. We would have shown compassion toward him rather than feel annoyed and irritated by the all night generator!
• The good that has come out of it all, is that Michael went and talked to a couple next door to the generator man, and he and his wife are going to move to our campsite when we leave today. His wife is from Turkey and he is from Redlands where Michael use to practice medicine. His wife just received her PhD and he teaches English in Turkey. They are hoping to move back to the United States some day soon.
• Paul and his wife placed their chair at our campsite as we pulled out to leave and they now have a campsite next to the river.
• The All Night Generator man will be asked to move to another site with the help of the staff if he continues to need to use his generator all night.

The Circle of Life

I have never seen so many swallowtail butterflies congregating in one place before. Convict Lake must be a major breeding ground for these magnificent butterflies, because they are literally everywhere. I saw about 15 fluttering along the lakeside by the boardwalk where wild iris blooms have proliferated. Swallowtails are surprisingly swift and aware of your presence. It is difficult to tiptoe up to one to take a photograph. If they notice you, they will fly away! The reason I believe I was able to capture so many of them with a photograph, was because they seemed intoxicated by the sheer abundance of flowers that this winter’s rain and snowfall have produced. Flowers and butterflies are everywhere; that and the mosquito. It is paradise for the trout too, except that they have to worry about the increase in the numbers of fisherman. The cycle of life is an interesting one. Survival of the fittest can mean many things. Strength, intelligence and the good fortune to be born at the right time and in the right place. For the swallowtails, this is a good year to be born!

When Michael and I reached the part of the boardwalk that was washed away, we turned around and low and behold, there were the swallowtails. I was able to sneak up on them by hiding behind the birch trees. I also found that if I stood really still- (a difficult task because of the mosquitoes) I could snap off a photograph before one would fly away. They have such a beautiful wingspan and are large for such adept fliers. It has got to be somewhat mind blowing to go from being a lowly, ground hugging caterpillar, and then become an airborne butterfly. They also fly with little regard to predators! I will have to do some research to see if they are poisonous to birds…..* Metamorphosis also seems miraculous and almost divine to me. I am not religious, but nature is as close as I can get to believing that there is something more and bigger then ourselves out there. Watching these magnificent butterflies is quite extraordinary and I am grateful for the opportunity to capture and record them with a camera, and to disturb them as little as possible.

So, to leave nothing behind but footsteps and to shoot photographs of nature’s animals with a camera instead of using a gun is my weapon of choice. I realize that because I am not a vegetarian, this is a bit of a double standard, but I am at least trying to eat less meat and animal products and I am appreciative of the sacrifice when I do decide to eat one. It has more to do with modern animal husbandry and the conditions in which most domestic animals that are raised for human consumption have to endure, that prompts me to eat less meat. And to be driving around in an RV that uses diesel fuel is an extravagance that I am aware of. At least we found the Fleetwood (Icon) to be energy efficient! It gets close to 15.80 mpg. That is pretty impressive for an RV. Some day there will be electric and hybrid RV’s too! The circle of life continues and I can only hope that swallowtail butterflies and nature in its “wild” state, will be there for generations of humans to witness and admire for years to come!

* from what I have read, some swallowtails practice mimicry in order to pretend that they are poisonous. I do not know if this is the case at Convict Lake but was very surprised they could fly about with so little concern about predation. 

A Return to Convict Lake

We returned to Convict Lake on Wednesday afternoon after attempting to once again head north toward Lee Vining and Tioga Pass. The Pass is still closed due to heavy snow and the snow melting, which is causing flooding throughout the campgrounds. They have no date planned in the near future for opening up the Pass. We decided to return to Convict Lake and are so thrilled that we did. It is only about 30 minutes past Mammoth Lakes and we were able to get a fabulous campsite by 1:00 pm. We came here last year with the SUV and fantasized about returning some day in an RV. We turned the dream into a reality and Callie, Michael and I were able to make it happen. Fred had to return home last week due to altitude sickness and a fractured ankle. He made it home safely the day before Father’s Day. He will have to make his own dreams come true after he recovers…..

The Paiute Indians call this Lake-
Watsunupa (“Lake in a dent in the ground”). The Lake received its current name after a dramatic shootout in September, 1871. A group of 29 men broke out of the Carson City, Nevada Penitentiary and 6 of them made it to the Lake which is 200 miles away. The county sheriff and a Paiute guide were both killed while trying to capture the escaped convicts. I prefer the name that the Paiutes gave the Lake!

Convict Lake is one of the deepest Eastern Sierra Nevada lakes and it is a gorgeous, silvery, blue-green. The runoff from snow melt is extraordinary and the river that we are camped alongside of is roaring right past the campsite. The boardwalk that I took Callie on with Fred and Michael last year, is partially swept away from fallen trees that have crashed into it. Heavy snowfall has broken some of the birch and aspen groves and the splintered trees have piled up against the boardwalk. The water is rushing over other parts of the boardwalk too, and I believe more damage will occur as the melt continues. We have had 5 days in a row of temperatures in the middle to high 80’s and every day the volume of water increases.

We saw a lot of mule deer, swallowtail butterflies, primroses, roses, wild Iris, robins, woodpeckers, seagulls, starlings, a pale white butterfly with beautiful black markings, deep orange/black moths that seek moisture along the damp shoreline and of course the pesky mosquito. You can’t have this kind of paradise with so much water all around and warm temperatures and not have mosquitoes. There are also many fisherman catching record size trout in boats and along the shoreline, and people are hiking the trail in spite of the heat and intense sunshine. Bicycles are not allowed out on the hiking trail, but it would have been too difficult anyway, so walking the trail is the only option. Last year when Callie and I were out on the trail, a string of pack horses rode past us with the sound of hooves hitting rocks and dirt being kicked up into the air. As they passed by, you could smell their sweat and saddle leather, and Callie gazed up at them in wonder. She was brave and curious while she watched them lumber along in a cloud of dust and flies, and when the last horse and rider walked past us, the rider turned around in astonishment at seeing a cat hiking the trail on a leash and harness.

We have decided to camp here through the weekend and may head toward Oregon next. I am writing this post on Friday with the help of NOTES and will upload the story when I have internet again.

We are having a fabulous time and Michael has been fishing and BBQing every evening and we have biked around the campground with Callie in her basket in the coolness of the early morning.

Escaping the Furnace

Poor Borrego Springs is suppose to hit 122 degrees today. As I write, it is 121 out. Oh the poor creatures that I love so much in Anza Borrego. How can they possibly survive? Our dear friend, Salvador keeps an eye on our house and plants while we are away, but what about him? How does he manage? Thank you Salvador for all your hard work and you do it with such grace and dignity. We appreciate you so much.

Here at Silver Lake at the series of lakes called: June Lake, it is 83 outside and Callie thinks it is way too warm and she can hardly open her eyes and move about. She is hanging out on the top loft but we have the air conditioning on and she is still being lazy. Thunder and lightening storms are expected on Thursday and it should be quite exciting hanging out in the RV. Callie isn’t afraid of thunder and lightening like our jack russel dog, Addy was. Thunder and lightening would send Addy into my closet and she would bury herself under any discarded clothing or pile of shoes she was fortunate enough to find. She would cower and shake and shiver until the storm would pass. Attacking a coyote was nothing for Addy, but thunder and lightening did her in.

We are having a fabulous time in the RV and it is another beautiful day. I suppose it is cooler for those that don’t wear fur coats!

Day 2 of Silver Lake

The roar of the waterfalls lulled me to sleep last night while I fretted about the bag of trash that Michael refused to take to the dumpster! He doesn’t want to waste a half full trash bag and I agree, but I don’t want a bear ripping out a side window to get to the garbage either. There are bear postings everywhere. I woke up to the sound of the waterfall roaring and a bear did not come a scavenging during the night!

Callie coughed again last night and we think it was because of the air conditioner. If that is the case, it could very well be asthma again as the default diagnosis for her ongoing health problems. She is feeling fine today and we went on a morning walk and she got to hang out on the picnic table and watch the ground squirrels argue about their territorial disputes, and the deer tiptoe ever so elegantly in search of food.

Silver Lake Resort RV Park is wonderful and we are very pleased with our location. Due to the overwhelming amount of water flooding out a lot of the campsites, only those with reservations can stay. We are going to move a couple miles down the road to a day use facility called: Aerie Crag- an original founder of the Lake site camping in 1916, that will be allowing RV’s to camp overnight. There will not be any hookups and I would be surprised if I will have phone service. We can bike into town everyday and I will post photos and write if I so desire. If it isn’t too hot, we may try to stay for at least 5 days or through the weekend. Because of the flooding everywhere, including Yosemite, campgrounds are filled up and reservations that were made a year ago, honored first. There are no first come first serve availability at this time.

We went on a bike ride this morning and are amazed at all the water. Silver Lake is filled to capacity and the overflow has flooded out neighborhood cabins and driveways. The California drought is officially over in this area. I bet there will be a huge mosquito problem in a couple of weeks if the temperature stays warm. There is a lot of stagnant water lying around and they are already starting to buzz around when I stop to take photographs. Wild Iris blooms are everywhere and the scent of sage and pine fill the air with a wonderful outdoor scent.

It will be another warm day and I hear it will hit 101 in Oceanside, California where Fred lives. It will be 86 here….

Silver Lake Resort RV Park

This morning we packed up and headed to the June Lake series of lakes and are now camped at Silver Lake Resort RV Park. We are parked in E-11 at the very back of the park and our RV is the last row alongside the hiking trail to a major waterfall that is flooding out the cabins and the bridge. There are 3 more lakes still frozen solid that are starting to thaw in this heat wave. The entire campground and all who wanted to volunteer last night until 1:30 this morning sandbagged the perimeter of the Resort trying to keep the water from rising any further into the campground. The waterfall is roaring and the Silver Lake is way beyond most known borders. You could literally fish right outside your car window if you so inclined. A main water pipe also broke yesterday and people were without potable water yesterday. It has been an exciting day of grocery shopping at Von’s before dropping off Michael’s old bike to the Second Chance Thrift Store for the Wounded Warriors Project, and then making the 30 minute drive to the campground. We decided to head north instead of to Convict Lake because of the heat wave. Silver Lake is having an overwhelming black bear problem too, so all food has to be stored in airtight containers and nothing left outside. What an adventure we are having. 

June Lake


Badge of Honor

I am gaining much more respect for trail biking! I have bruises between my thighs from braking hard and jumping off of the seat in order to prevent myself from crashing. I have discovered that you cannot use your front brake when you hit deep sand because you will go over the handlebars lickity split! Fortunately for me, I have been a horse back rider all of my life, so the urge to bail before I get into trouble is an immediate reaction to the first sign of danger! One must know their limitations, and in most cases, I most certainly do. I haven’t taken a nasty fall yet, but can only imagine not if, but when. It seems totally inevitable, so I brought along bandages and my trusty bandana just in case I loose a limb, break an arm, or worse, sever an artery or vein and bleed to death. I imagine head bashing is another thing to worry about, so we both wear helmets. You can see where the younger generation does stump jumping and rock bouncing and they must be able to become totally air born. I won’t ever get to that level of sportsmanship, but I did go over an embankment and land in one piece and I consider myself lucky. You also have to lean back and straddle the saddle with your thighs when going downhill and into deep sand, and that is a talent I am very good at. I have always had powerful thighs and Michael can attest to that, so my thighs have been a big help to me. That is also the reason why I have bruises between my legs. When I am convinced I am going to crash, I jump down with both legs to keep from falling over! When I land hard, I stop myself by planting both feet firmly on the ground and this bangs the bike frame into my thighs. Better that then landing in a broken heap.  No shame in that! So, bruises between my legs at 61 years of age is a badge of honor, and I shall take it as a compliment to my level of skill at staying out of trouble. I am also having a little more difficulty with crossing my legs!:)

Callie woke up to birds singing and enjoyed watching them flit about outside the window. She loves RVing and I am so proud of her for being such a good sport. I made Michael a nice Father’s Day Breakfast and now that our bike ride is finished, we are going to have lunch and possibly walk into town for dinner tonight to celebrate. We may go to Lundy Canyon or Convict Lake tomorrow. Not sure which direction to go in as of yet, but staying out of the heat is a deciding factor. Fred made it safely home after a disastrous tire blow out near Indio and we hope he recovers from his big adventure as soon as possible. He attempted to travel with a fractured ankle and it was too much for him. Rest up Fred and get on that new awesome, Stumpjumper bike. 

Happy Father’s Day to all the good men out there raising children. The world needs good parents!

From Dawn to Dusk

The morning started out bright and early with Callie once again expecting me to get up and serve breakfast so that she and Michael could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. It is rather funny and because I am a morning person, it is no big deal. As soon as I fed Callie, Michael was already sleeping and Callie tucked herself into the tent I created for her on the sofa. It is chilly at night but today it reached 85 and it felt warm to me. It is nothing compared to Anza Borrego though, which will hit a high of 121 on Tuesday. Those kinds of temperatures are a killer for birds and mammals and plants. It is so hot that when you take in a deep breath, your lungs feel scorched.

Michael and I went on a fabulous off road bike ride again this morning and because it was so difficult, I am considering packing a first aid kit. I wear a scarf around my neck in case I will ever need a tourniquet, but can see the use of bandages and wraps for all kinds of injuries. You can’t see the deep sand in the shadows when it is mixed with dappled light and the ruts in the trails trap you before stopping you in your tracks. I had air put in my tires this morning and I think the added pressure made for a much more difficult ride. We made it back to the RV in one piece though and felt the zen of having a strenuous workout roll over our shoulders all day today. 

Fred decided to head back home this morning so Michael, Callie and I have the rest of the vacation to ourselves. I will be able to celebrate Father’s Day and not worry about Fred anymore. He blew a tire heading home and is waiting for a tow service as I write. The same right back tire that we had a flat fire with! RV’s sit a lot and the tires are the first to show wear and tear. He has a long way to go yet to get home, I wish him the best.

Callie got a morning walk and was able to hang out on the picnic table most of the day while Michael worked on the bikes. She is getting more than her fair share of excitement and the strain is starting to show. When I find her up in the loft in between the rungs of the step up ladder to the loft bed, I know I have sufficiently worn her out from dawn to dusk. Wearing out a cat is always a good thing!