You would think I would have learned by now, but noooooo… I never do. If I post in advance about my plans, my plans never turn out that way. Oops.
I thought I was going to make it to Death Valley by last night. This trip has taught me though that sometimes, I just need to be flexible. Things will work out the way they are meant to be.
I was in Mammoth Lakes, so I did need to actually SEE the lakes before I left town. I drove up to St Mary Lake, took the photograph above, and then savored the view from the toasty warmth of my car. I didn’t drive beyond the first lake to see the others as the road had not been plowed. Then I went back down the mountain and off to Bishop, California.
While I was up at the lake, another storm had come in, so the rest of my afternoon was spent mostly under clouds. The fall colors in Bishop were stunning though, and I couldn’t resist their charm.
Then it was off to the south, with the intention of still making it to Whitney Portal. Until I saw the sign. “Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest” – just off to the left. I had forgotten that the oldest trees in the world are right here in California. Trees as old as 4750 years old.
How could I pass up seeing the oldest living trees? You’re right. I couldn’t. So I headed up in to the White Mountains.
It was sunny when I turned on the highway to get there. As I started to go up in elevation, the sun left and the clouds took over. By 7000 feet, there was light snow coming down, although it wasn’t staying on the road. By 9000 feet, the snow was thick and heavy. Beautiful fluffy snowflakes, with patches of it gathering roadside. I was within 2 miles of the forest, and by that point I was not turning back. I went as far as the visitor’s center parking lot. I saw the trees that are right there, but I did not go on a hike to see the Methuselah Grove where the Methuselah tree is – 4750 years old. I didn’t see the oldest tree in the world, but it was still amazing to see these ancient trees.
I did not stay for long though, as I knew the snow was picking up, and I wanted to get down off the mountain.
The sun was just starting to set over the White Mountains to the east and the Sierras to the west. I drove on to Lone Pine, California to spend the night. Today, I will be heading off to Whitney Portal, which is about 15 minutes away. Then on to the Lone Pine Film History Museum and off to Death Valley.
My plans may have not turned out as expected, but I have no regrets. Being flexible allows me to experience some truly incredible things.