Yosemite, Mammoth and Death Valley
Report courtesy of Sarah
View Day 4 Photos
Day 4, Saturday
Distance Driven: 280 miles
Hotel: Furnace Creek Ranch
City: Death Valley
In order to make this day happen we’ve got to be up
really early. We can drive or take
the bus from in front of the hotel to the main lodge.
The lifts open at 8:30am and I think the views are great in the morning.
We’ll take the gondola to the top and stop off for some great panoramic
shots. Mammoth offers the ride for $16.
I wonder if they would like me take my skis? From here we head to Bishop to check out Galen Rowell’s
Mountain Light Gallery. Galen and
his wife were killed over a year ago in an airplane accident. Since that time I have really grown to appreciate his work.
I hope my mother is as captivated by what she sees.
Perhaps this will help her to understand why I love the outdoors so much.
Next we will stop at Schat’s Bakery for lunch. The Original Sheepherder Bread was introduced to the Owens
Valley during the California Gold Rush by immigrant Basque sheepherders who
missed the bread of their homeland. They shaped loaves of their traditional
bread by hand, used stone ovens for baking, and produced the first sheepherder
bread. Even today they shape the loaves by hand and bake in the finest European
Stone Hearth Ovens. I’ve never
tasted their bread, but I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.
Next we’ll head to Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
These trees were ancient even in medieval times. The oldest recorded
living things on earth, some have been dated back to more than 4,500 years.
Bristlecone pines grow in the White Mountains at elevations over 9,000
ft. It's hard to imagine anything living in this harsh, wind-swept environment,
but that is part of the reason these trees flourish.
From Bishop it will take one hour to reach the Bristlecone pines.
Near the visitor center is a Sierra View vista, which if I remember
right, has observation tubes which identify the Sierra peaks.
I believe I stopped here when I climbed White Mtn. in April of 2002.
Our next stop will be the Manzanar Museum, which has its grand opening
the weekend before our arrival. The
office wasn’t sure if they would have guided tours that weekend or not, so I
need to call them back next week, 760-878-2194 ext. 10.
I also don’t know their hours of operation!
Two months after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt signed an
Executive Order calling for all those of Japanese ancestry to be placed into
relocation camps. Manzanar was one of those relocation centers, built initially
as a temporary center it became the first permanent relocation center in the
United States. The 10,000 internees
sought to establish some semblance of normal life and beautified the barracks
with gardens and ponds, and tendered the orchards remnants which still remain
today. Our next stop will be the
Whitney Portal. We will climb up to
8,600 ft for another view of the Owens Valley.
The Portal Store also serves sandwiches, and such for dinner.
There should be a lot of activity on a Saturday.
The quota season officially starts at the beginning of May.
This means it is more difficult to get a permit to hike in the restricted
area. This part of the trip is
optional and can be eliminated if we are behind schedule.
Out final stop for the evening will be Death Valley.
It shouldn’t be much over 100 degrees when we get there at 7pm.
We can stop near Stovepipe Wells and see the dunes
and the 20 Mule Team Borax site. If
we’re really energetic we could drive down to Badwater. By the end of this day I would like to had a cold beer out on
our patio and watch the sun set over the valley.
Directions to Bristlecone Pine Forest:
Take US Hwy 395 south to Big Pine and turn east onto State Hwy 168 just north of
Big Pine. Follow Hwy 168 east 13
miles to White Mountain Road. Turn
left (north) and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center.
The Bristlecone pines can be viewed from the parking area of the visitor
center and along three nature trails.
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