E ric and E vey .com

May '12


Memorial Day 2012

This whole trip was spurred by my sudden fascination with the oldest continuously living tree in the world. This tree is right in our own state, and I had to see him. After months of researching and tracking down this tree, it was time to make the trip. We intended to camp, see the tree, and also climb White Mountain Peak, the third highest peak in California at over 14,000 feet. And then the freak snowstorm happened.

Tioga Pass through Yosemite was closed due to ice and snow about 90 minutes after we left home. We opted to detour up to Tahoe and cross the Sierras there, where it was also snowing but the roads had no restrictions. The snow and fog were intense and we had to go so slow that we didn’t get to our campsite until 4am. After 10 hours of driving we faced setting up the campsite in the freezing cold and the snow and trying to get some rest.

Our plan of doing pretty much anything was shot for Saturday since we needed to sleep in. Turned out that the snow had blocked the road to both the trees and the mountains. So we spent Saturday wandering the town of Bishop which was hosting a mule festival for the weekend. It was bustling and very quaint. We found a delicious bakery for lunch, and eventually explored the area around our campsite later.

Sunday we intended to visit the trees, and had entirely given up on hiking White Mountain, but the rangers said the road was still blocked by snow and we wouldn’t be able to make it that far. So instead we spent the day visiting Mono Lake. We hiked up, into, and around Panum Crater and ate lunch on the rim overlooking the lake. Afterwards we drove down to the lake to see the tufas. The lake has a very interesting history, and we enjoyed our visit.

Monday the rangers were still claiming the road was blocked, but we did not come all this way not to at least try. Turned out that whatever snowdrift had been blocking the road had melted enough that several large cars had driven through it and we were able to make our way up to the trees. The trail through the forest was a little dicey due to being half covered in snow and very slippery. The worst part was when we completely lost the trail and spent a half hour with a couple other groups trying to get unlost. Thank goodness for Eric’s GPS and forethought to load the trail map onto his phone. In the end we did see “the tree” and it was worth it. And our drive home only took 5 hours instead of 10 thanks to cutting through Yosemite as planned.

Maybe sometime we’ll go back to climb the mountain. At least we didn’t drive all the way from Louisiana just to have our plans ruined by snow like another couple we met.