Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bodie Hills - September 2011

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This was really a spur of the moment trip………………………

Our anniversary was Saturday. We wanted to do something special. Our Sunday was taken up with a mandatory class so a weekend adventure was out. What to do?

We were lying in bed Thursday night, reading, and we started to talk about what each of us wanted to do for our anniversary. We settled on breakfast in Bridgeport and a little exploration of the Bodie Hills.

“But we could just hop in the truck after work on Friday and get over to Monitor Pass and spend the night. I like Monitor,” the Lady said.
“It is opening weekend of deer season, the dispersed sites could be all taken,” I added.
“We’ll find a spot and we’ve got enough stuff in the refrigerator and in the cupboards for a quick trip. We don’t even have to go shopping.”
I could tell she was already out the door in her mind. This trip was planned.

We got away from here late afternoon. We were delayed a short time in Kirkwood, cell service there, as I called for information on a smoke plume on the south side of the American River near the crest – hold over lightning strike fire that was currently a monitor and let burn. We were on the top of Monitor Pass a little before sunset.

“Do you want to head into the spot we used last time we were up here?” I asked.
“No I want to go over on the east side and find a spot with the view that way,” the Lady answered.
“We don’t have a lot of daylight left.”
“We’ll find a spot.”
We headed north on a dirt road just past Leviathan Peak.
“Head up to that saddle and let’s look up there.” The Lady was enjoying the search.
She continued, “Now go to the right up that road maybe there will be a spot on that next saddle.
There wasn’t but a rough road headed steeply up toward a high point.
“Head up there. That should be a good spot.”
I turned, switched down into four low, and we started the climb.

It was a good spot, a really good spot. We were alone. There had been a few hunting camps visible on the west side of the pass. Nothing in our area. We started dinner and enjoyed the sunset.

And the evening light.

We woke early. The Lady made us coffee that we enjoyed as we watched the daylight come.

Sunrise beginning over Topaz Lake.

And beautiful predawn light over the West Walker River Valley.

Breakfast was good at the Hays Street Café in Bridgeport. Next was a hot springs soak. We were doing this anniversary thing right. This was turning into a really good day.

It had been several years since we had driven the Bodie Masonic Road. We had been near the ghost town of Masonic a few times but had never visited.

There is a good large campsite in the aspens down the narrow road to Lower Town and there is also a nice open spot near the intersection of Masonic Road and Bodie Masonic Road. Keep these in mind if you want to explore around here. If we had the time, we would have spent the night somewhere nearby. But, we believe this would be a spot you would share the night with ghosts, perhaps poor Mr. Phillips.

The mill is the largest ruins.

You need to look west and high across the canyon to find the source of the ore; a high tram tower marks the route.

There are aspen groves along Masonic Gulch. They are just beginning to change.

Back in the truck, we climbed back up to the intersection and then headed south on Bodie Masonic Road. We climbed to the crest of the Bodie Hills.

We stopped at a spot north of Potato Mountain that offered a view of the Sierra. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

The aspen groves in the Bodie Hills are ahead of those in the Sierra with putting on their fall colors. Storm clouds were also building.

We watched lightning strikes to the west as we descended toward 395 from Bodie. The sky was dark and angry. Our windows were open as we enjoyed the smell of rain.

We drove through heavy rain with lightning as we headed north on 395. It let up in Walker, town was quiet, and Walker Burger looked like just the right place for a happy anniversary dinner. We wiped off a table and were the only ones dining in the garden.

The aspen on Monitor Pass and through Hope Valley and Carson Pass are just showing a hint of changing into their fall wardrobe. The brush in Hope Valley’s meadows is changing. Fall is starting to arrive.

We had a memorable and happy anniversary quick little getaway.

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