Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bridgeport Area Sierra Fall Color - October 2015

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Fun was guaranteed. We knew that as we drove in the dark down 395 toward our rendezvous. If Ted is involved, fun is guaranteed. And Ted was involved.

The Barking Spiders asked if we had a weekend available to visit the east side of the Sierra Nevada. We were also monitoring Mrs. Ted's recovery from surgery, which was progressing very well. Last minute emails and a trip was shoehorned onto the calendar.

Most interesting was this message from Ted -

"We are really looking forward to getting out camping again and particularly with such good company. Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I admire you and Barking Spider. So I’m trying to be more like both of you. I hope you will notice a difference. See you soon, Ted."

Ted had something up his sleeve.  I received this response when I asked for clarification -

"It’s only appropriate you are thinking about my previous message. You always start your blog stories with a tease. I start our camping trips with one."

The tease was on. The hook was set. Ted was involved. Fun was guaranteed.

We were the last to arrive Friday night at our usual fall gathering spot off of Dunderberg Meadows Road near Bridgeport, California. The Teds and the Spiders were thick into storytelling around a mellow campfire. We tried not to interrupt.

Saturday's dawn was glorious and set the mood for our explorations in search of colorful high country aspen.

The Teds remained at camp on Saturday; recovery, studying for a test, and relaxation were their main objectives for the weekend. The Lady wanted to hike up nearby Lundy Canyon. Perhaps we would find some fall color despite our continuing drought. The Spiders joined us.

In places the aspen were spectacular. We were surprised and delighted.

We stopped at the water falls at the base of the switchbacks that climb up to Lake Helen in the high basin above.

The area was quite busy with people but we found an out of the way spot for lunch.

On our return down canyon, we stopped at the beaver dam and pond, a fine example of this rodent's industrious nature. Barking Spider is fascinated with beavers.

We returned to camp mid afternoon. Mrs. Ted was out for a walk, stretching her legs, building strength. Ted was looking for an excuse to put down the books. Barking Spider had just the ticket................... 

...................a fine craft beer given to him by Aron, our Hollywood friend who had recently come to the mountains for a visit. We love this guy, Aron, and the stories flowed along with this exquisite stout. 

The wind was harsh Saturday evening and drove us into our respective campers early. Sunday, the Lady and I were up before the sun. With the camera on a tripod, morning coffee, and a beautiful morning, I shot a long exposure panorama in the predawn light.

This campsite has a wonderful view overlooking Mono Lake to the south east. We watched the coming color of morning.

Everyone joined us out on the highpoint.

Ted declared it was time for a photo of the three amigos, a portrait showcasing Ted's entry into the sacred order of the mustache. The explanation for his tease - "So I’m trying to be more like both of you. I hope you will notice a difference."

Ted's festive, buoyant mood, continued with an idea for some staged photos. He had brought along a special beer also.

After a relaxing Sunday breakfast, we broke camp. The Ted's headed home. We headed to the Twin Lakes area southwest of Bridgeport. Mom Spider wanted to hike up Robinson Canyon to Barney Lake. Today was her day.

Unlike Lundy Canyon with its brown and red metamorphic rock, Robinson Canyon is classic soaring Sierra granite.

The aspen were at their peak of color.

It was difficult to focus on walking. I continued to fall behind my companions as my eyes were drawn to beauty everywhere around us. "He's shutter bugging," I heard the Lady's distant voice explain. 

We soon arrived at Barney Lake.

One of the few Sierra alpine lakes with a sandy beach, we pulled off our boots and waded in the cold water. We leaned our backs against a perfectly placed log and stretched our legs out before us. An obsidian flake caught Barking's eye, evidence that this wonderful beach has been enjoyed for ages. We passed it around for examination and then returned it to its resting place.

Walking back down canyon, my eyes were still drawn upward into the canopy of aspen.

There were very few people up this trail today, in contrast to the crowds of the previous day.

In the late afternoon, we started north toward home. Taking advantage of Christopher Columbus, we would spend one more night out. We returned to a favorite campsite up Little Walker River Road. The wind had subsided, allowing for time to enjoy the star filled night sky above.

Up early and wandering about the next morning, the Lady and I enjoyed the quiet predawn.

The Spiders had visited an old cabin in this area on their last stay here. The Rickey Cabin is marked on the USGS quad and the map also shows old trails to it. The trail the Spiders had used no longer exists on the ground and made it a bushwack for them to find the cabin. We decided to try a trail depicted on the map coming in from the opposite direction. Although very seldom used, we were able to find sections of it. It took us across rolling hills of sage, mountain mahogany, aspen, and dry high meadows.

We continued to find aspen fully decked out in their fall splendor.

The remains of Rickey Cabin were tucked away in a wooded grove above a large meadow. 

We wandered through the area and explored.

Here, we were completely alone and we savored the solitude.

It was time to head back over the ridge and back to Willow Flats.

Expecting to find little fall color, we were surprised with the brilliant splashes of golden aspen we found and walked through. Unexpected, this added to the pleasure of good company, a well deserved speedy recovery, and a newly born furry upper lip, and made this a wonderful weekend adventure. As guaranteed, it was fun.


  1. Fantastic photos! It's amazing that there is so much color, even after four years of drought.

  2. amazing pictures - looks like there was a lot of fun and relaxation at the same I have to grow a "stache" to come along next time?