Thursday, October 13, 2016

Eastern Sierra Autumn Colors - October 2016

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A Gathering of Friends

It was so warm and cozy, hard to wake up and climb out of bed. Saturday morning the Lady reached down from our bunk and switched the heater on at 5:30 am. The camper quickly warmed up  as we lay in bed and watched the morning light grow outside. Lighthawk - Andy - was already out on the point overlooking Mono Lake as I set up my tripod. The Lady's fussing in the camper told me coffee was on its way. It is so comfortable, so special, to wake up in a place like this, and to share it with friends.  

SR and Little Miss Callie walked down the road from camp.

MarkBC and the Teds were next. CraggyMan and Karen popped out of their new pop up camper. Autumn colors on the east side had brought a gathering of friends.

Saturday was an amazing day. It was fall in the Sierra Nevada.

The slow pace of traveling in a group was worth it with reconnecting with special friends like the Lighthawks.

Saturday was a lazy hike up Green Creek to Green Lake. The group continually leapfrogged its way forward as different colors and compositions stopped the photographers in their tracks.

The Lady and the Craggys were the first to arrive at Green Lake.

Snacks, stories, photos, and naps in the sun followed as it turned into late afternoon.

The group again stretched out on the trail as we went at our own pace back to the trailhead.

Days like this are special memories we can return to again and again.

Back at camp in the early evening, everyone quietly attended to various chores - whether quick showers, chips and guacamole, dinner, or putting together the night's campfire down in the sheltered cove. We were joined by Wu Wei and Cathy,  who had happened upon our gathering. They were most welcome.

The wind was eerily still Sunday morning. For this spot in October, the overnight low was warm, above freezing. We were up well before the sun. It took a 30 second exposure to gather enough light to photograph camp.

Clouds were absent from the sky as the light slowly grew in the east over Mono Lake.

Murphy, Wu Wei's dog, softly barked a couple of times as we wandered past their camp to get into position for the sunrise. We hope we did not disturb too much.

Another wonderful day got its start.

Many in our group were taking several days off or had a long holiday weekend with Columbus Day. We did not so Sunday we were heading home. But not so fast, we still had time for further exploration. We drove down to the June Lake Loop and drove the dirt road to the Parker Lake trailhead. It was only a couple miles or so hike into Parker Lake and the fall colors reports said now was the time to visit Parker Lake.

We had been up at Parker Pass, far above, a few weeks ago so we were anxious to see this area. As the reports said, autumn colors were in their prime.

We climbed around Parker Lake to visit the aspen grove in the canyon above.

We circled the lake. The outlet area was crowded with people. Many, of course, were photographers. We enjoyed watching one lone painter working on his art.

We were very pleased with the brilliant colors on the aspens here and recommend this as a nice short hike in the autumn for colorful leaves.

Parker Lake is not a secret, judging by the filled to overflowing trailhead and road in.

It was now mid afternoon and time to head home. We stopped for an early dinner at Walker Burger. Avery, the owner, was taking orders.

"How are you two?" he smiled as he asked with his distinctive voice.

"Hungry," the Lady answered. "When are you closing for the season? Next weekend?"

"Today is the last day." Avery answered.

"Then it was meant to be that we stopped today! You heading to the south of France for the winter?"

Avery laughed. "Nope, down to Mexico. And what are you having today?"

We were relaxing out in the garden setting when Avery stopped at our table.

"I wanted to come out and let you two know, 'cause folks like you are more friends than customers............," Avery began, "I want you to know this is my last year."

He shared the reasons and went on. "I've got a young man that will come in and manage the place next year, possibly buy the place. We'll see."

The Lady gave Avery a big hug and I shook his hand and wished him all the best.

Even with its bittersweet ending, this had been a wonderful weekend  for us - autumn in the mountains and a gathering of friends.

A special thank you to MarkBC for suggesting and organizing this fall get together.


  1. Thanks Monte. The fall color sure put on a show.We gave it a thought about heading out for this weekend but the weather changed that.
    Oh well another time.
    But it is sure nice that you share your travels with us.

  2. What a sweet bunch of photos and remembrances.

  3. Great report. Petey and I hope to run into you guys one day out on the road.

    1. Thanks Park, we very much appreciate your kind comments!

  4. Frank and Pat, thank you both for the nice comments!

  5. Cheers Monte - Karen and I really enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the gang. Love your morning shots and always enjoy your TRs.

    1. Jim, it was a pleasure meeting and spending time with you and Karen!