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.

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