Shifting gears, we headed north into colder weather with week long rain, snow, and the most unique gifts of nature that are outta this world!!!
Words taken from my daily journals, with some enhancements…..here or there.
Inyo National Forest, California: At the look out of the Sierra Mountain Range, sitting alone on a wooden bench just taking in the epic morning sights.
The sun is shining perfectly on the page. I’m snuggled in my Big Agnes coat and stocking cap. We’re at over 9k feet. The cool morning air is crisp. The shadows of the clouds scatter and dance over the mountains. The black rocks at my feet are sharp with vibrant colors of Lichen that bring life and softness to the fierce edges. There’s the faint sound of birds, here or there, and the light rustling of the breeze passing through the trees. The smell of sage flows on the wings of the dry wind. It’s utterly peaceful and completely breathtaking up here, among the mountain tops. If I didn’t have to pee, I could stay here for some time.
Old Ass Trees
Once we arrived at the Bristlecone Pine Forest, we hiked within the ancient old ass trees. Talk about amazing. The land was peaceful and quiet as I wandered through, wondering which ones are older than King Tut. With dark clouds moving in, things became deafening with silence. Then, it happened. I came across a dead tree on the ground. A plaque stated that the tree died in the 1600’s at 3200 years old!!! WHAT?!?! My mind was blown, trying to wrap around something that was that old and right in from of me. And some, even older, where still living right here where I stood. I was in total awe.
Ancient Bristlecone tree that’s over 3200 years old with beautiful rings and textures.
I ran my hand along the giant, still beast. The bark felt smooth almost silky. The textures, the patterns. I was mesmerized. As the rain, that spit lightly, turned to pellets of snow I said my goodbye and a quick thank you to the earth for sharing such a magical being. Then we jumped in the RV and wound our way through the snow, down to the bottom of the mountain.
After leaving the White Mountains, we went to Mammoth Lake but the large amounts of snow, and more to come, kept us out. This also kept us from going to Yosemite. With a change in plans, we headed to Mono Lake, which was on our way to the much warmer Arizona and Utah.
I have heard of the Tufa's at Mono Lake before but seeing these limestone towers in person was like exploring a Sea Monkey Palace but above water. Walking among these natural structures, I was once again in wonder of the unique and rare gifts that Mother Earth gives. And also grateful for them.
Up close photos of the magical Tufas.
KOA Cedar City, Utah: After laundry, the first hot shower in over a week, I snuggle into bed and recap the full days drive and out of this world events into my journal.
When I was looking at the map, I noticed something a bit strange. A road called the Extraterrestrial Highway. This was our road for today. My excitement for the possible alien abduction fueled my excitement for the first bit of the drive. But after an hour and no signs of ET, I became a bit bummed. Just then, we reached Rachel and the Little A’Le’Inn.
Alien flower vase on each and every table and currency from around the world (and beyond?) hanging from the ceiling.
Pulling up to Little A’Le’Inn, I could smell the overpriced tourism yet, I had to check it out. The bar and cafe was filled with every trinket that a tourist could dream of! T-shirts, stickers, hats, even Alien Tequila and Vodka! Currency from around the world hung from the bar and movie memorabilia hung tight to the walls. While eating our Alien Burgers, Alice and I over heard the couple next to us asking for directions to Area 51. Wait, what!?!? Without a word, Alice and I looked at each other. Yep, we HAD to check this out.
Outside of Little A’Le’Inn is a time capsule from the movie Independence Day, which was filmed in the area too. Seems fitting for today! Happy Fourth of July, y’all!!!
We arrived to the tour center at 6am. Due to vandalism, the only way to explore Antelope Canyon was with guides. At 7am, we were loaded into the back of pickups. Once buckled in, the trucks drove full speed ahead to the Canyon. Caravans of trucks, all full to the rim with tourist, yo-yoed around each other. We all bounced around in our seats, half scared of the unknown, half excited by it. Coming to a stop, Sunny (our guide) led us to the entrance.
Looking up at the canyon, the walls were slick with edges jagged, towering high above us. I felt as if I had been transported into the many photographs, that I had spent years obsessing over, of this area. A ribbon of passage ways weaved through red, purple hued walls. The tour seemed to move faster than I could photograph. I was dragging behind the group, finding myself among our group and the one behind. But I felt alone, with the canyon. With its history. Walking, winding throughout the ribbon and into large passage ways I felt a whirl wind of stories overcome me. Running back and forth from camera to canyon from canyon to story from camera to canyon and all back again. Before I knew it I was on the outside and the tour was over. Taking a moment to gather myself, I expressed my gratitude to the Canyon for all its amazing wonders, gifts, and stories shared.
Next Post: Is part one of a two post GRAND FINALE!!!! There’s no better way to end an epic road trip than with epic places and events: Bearded & Shucked Mermaid March in the High Desert, B&W Canyon Photos, Pink Coral Sand Dunes and hiking in the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.