Monday turned out sunny and just about cloudless. The high-country ghost town of Bodie was our destination. Jim and Gayle drove and Dave and I passengered while Jeanne and Riley drove separately. It’s a pretty short drive from Lee Vining to Bodie but 13 of the 35 miles was the road going up to Bodie. At 8,300’ it’s pretty high. What was abundantly clear when we exited the car was the millions of hungry gnats were going to drive us crazy. Even the occasional gusts of wind didn’t disperse the relentless buggers. The gnats were bothering Riley so bad that Jeanne departed early. The rest of us persevered for 2 hours, ate lunch in the car, and got the heck out of there. Too bad!
After Bodie, we decided to check out the Lundy Lake Trail as a possible hike for Tuesday. It was beautiful up there and for some reason, there were no gnats. Later that night, however, I discovered I had about 20 bites all over my head and neck. Itchy!
Tuesday dawned another clear day, so we returned to the Lundy Trail. We got to look up at another spectacular mountain as we traversed through naked aspen and sagebrush. At this altitude, there were few wildflowers but lots of flowing water. Various people we talked to returning down the trail said they hadn’t gone past the first few water crossings. We were warned some of them were “shaky”, going over unreliable logs and stones. We all crossed without much trouble, using our trekking poles for stability. Those poles have changed my hiking life. Crossing streams used to terrify me. Now I’m fine with most of them.
We continued up the trail and it got snowier, to the point where I decided not to continue. I ambled back down the trail and waited for them. About a half hour later, they returned, saying it was too snowy to continue. They had seen some skiers who had packed their ski equipment up the trail and had skiied on the backside of the mountain. Lo and behold, as we ate lunch, they appeared.
After the hike, Jim and Gayle took off and Dave and I repaired to the nice campground sites at Lundy Lake and had coffee and cookies. It was so relaxing. Later, the five of us got together for a final happy hour. Gayle and Jim are staying at Mono Lake for a while. Jeanne is heading north on a grand tour of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, eventually ending in Texas. Whew!
The drive up 395 was nice, with the Walker River running fast and the hills green. We decided to spend one night at Washoe Lake where Jeanne was planning to stay. It’s a pretty site, though the lake was low. It’s surrounded by hills and full of quail, jackrabbits and cottontails. We cleaned the Lazy Daze, and on our final day on the road, cleaned it some more. Jeanne and Riley showed up later and we finally got to sit outside for happy hour, enjoy the mild weather and say goodbye to them.
The drive home on Friday was easy, with traffic moving pretty well. We got home around 2 p.m. and for the first time in many trips, couldn’t get a space in front of our house. We had to park around the corner. So that meant about 25 trips (for me) hauling things across busy Joost Street, half a block down to the house and up the stairs into the house. We were both tired when that was finished. Then comes washing all the bedding and linens (well, not exactly linens), dishes, storage containers, cutlery to put back in the rig for storage. As is our wont, we celebrated homecoming and our 27th anniversary with pizza and a Tobin James Primotivo. We are home.