Winter In The Sierra

 "Man... This wind is pretty heavy. Is your van feeling it as much as mine?" After a bit of static, I heard Beau click on to channel 4 on the walkie: "Yeah... let's just take it slow. We'll be fine." We were heading up the pass from Bishop towards Owens Valley, in hopes to beat the storm and find a spot for the night. The Weather report showed that Mammoth mountain, which is about 15 minutes north from our projected camp spot, was going to get dumped on. The wind was taking its toll and making it hard for us to drive and stay in our own lane. We drove up the pass at approximately 30mph.

"Man... This wind is pretty heavy. Is your van feeling it as much as mine?" After a bit of static, I heard Beau click on to channel 4 on the walkie: "Yeah... let's just take it slow. We'll be fine." We were heading up the pass from Bishop towards Owens Valley, in hopes to beat the storm and find a spot for the night. The Weather report showed that Mammoth mountain, which is about 15 minutes north from our projected camp spot, was going to get dumped on. The wind was taking its toll and making it hard for us to drive and stay in our own lane. We drove up the pass at approximately 30mph.

 We reached the summit, finally, and passed a small town coined Tom's Place. Here, the wind got only worse. Pine trees and aspens were almost getting torn out of the ground and ending up on the highway. Yet we kept trucking. Earlier at a Starbucks in Bishop, we contemplated going back up to Owens for the night due to the approaching storm and just finding a place to sleep at lower elevation. But the thought of waking up to snow on the ground and a few yards from a hot spring made us want to risk it. 

We reached the summit, finally, and passed a small town coined Tom's Place. Here, the wind got only worse. Pine trees and aspens were almost getting torn out of the ground and ending up on the highway. Yet we kept trucking. Earlier at a Starbucks in Bishop, we contemplated going back up to Owens for the night due to the approaching storm and just finding a place to sleep at lower elevation. But the thought of waking up to snow on the ground and a few yards from a hot spring made us want to risk it. 

 First time in a spring with snow on the ground.

First time in a spring with snow on the ground.

 Dear friends.

Dear friends.

 "Wind seems like it's dying off, but those clouds sure look dark." "What?" Beau questioned, in an alarmed voice. "I said the wind is getting better but those clouds look like they're gonna dump. Over" I said, knowing his next response. "Oh, I couldn't hear you because you didn't say 'Over.' Over." I had a few days to kill, and wanted to go on a trip. Originally, I planned to go somewhere I had never been, but I heard the mountains were gonna see a lot of snow, and I had never been up this time of year. It was the tail end of winter, and I hoped to see some snow. Born and raised in So Cal, I've seen little in my days.

"Wind seems like it's dying off, but those clouds sure look dark." "What?" Beau questioned, in an alarmed voice. "I said the wind is getting better but those clouds look like they're gonna dump. Over" I said, knowing his next response. "Oh, I couldn't hear you because you didn't say 'Over.' Over." I had a few days to kill, and wanted to go on a trip. Originally, I planned to go somewhere I had never been, but I heard the mountains were gonna see a lot of snow, and I had never been up this time of year. It was the tail end of winter, and I hoped to see some snow. Born and raised in So Cal, I've seen little in my days.

 Warms you twice.

Warms you twice.

 My favorite kind of road.

My favorite kind of road.

 Cooking dinner.

Cooking dinner.

 "Follow me. I know of a spot right next to a spring that I think I remember is pretty level. Hopefully no one is around." "What?" Beau asked again, trying to keep the humor alive. We pulled up and spent some time backing up and pulling into the gravel, trying to find the most level ground, an essential vanlife skill. We got it good enough, and started cleaning and organizing our vans for the night. Rain started to sprinkle and the shrubs were doing their wind dance. The sun went down, and I invited Beau over for a movie in my van. He surprised me by buying a copy of  The Last of the Mohicans. 

"Follow me. I know of a spot right next to a spring that I think I remember is pretty level. Hopefully no one is around." "What?" Beau asked again, trying to keep the humor alive. We pulled up and spent some time backing up and pulling into the gravel, trying to find the most level ground, an essential vanlife skill. We got it good enough, and started cleaning and organizing our vans for the night. Rain started to sprinkle and the shrubs were doing their wind dance. The sun went down, and I invited Beau over for a movie in my van. He surprised me by buying a copy of The Last of the Mohicans. 

 If you ever have the chance to stop by the Mono Lake Information Center, do it. They play some rad films about Native Americans who occupied the Mono region.

If you ever have the chance to stop by the Mono Lake Information Center, do it. They play some rad films about Native Americans who occupied the Mono region.

 Alabama Hills.

Alabama Hills.

 First light.

First light.

 Bishop Skatepark. 

Bishop Skatepark. 

 Snow flurry on the 395.

Snow flurry on the 395.

 Breaky.

Breaky.

 Spent the first night with the valley to myself.

Spent the first night with the valley to myself.

 I woke up to a loud knock on the window of my camper and opened my eyes to be blinded by a red headlamp. Beau. It was barely light outside, but we wanted to make sure we were the first ones in the tub. All night I wondered if I'd wake up to snow. I quickly remembered, threw on my long johns, and popped open the door. I had to shove it open because the door handles had frozen shut on the van. A few tries and it flew open. I popped out my head out and sure enough: snow. Beau was pretty pumped and had already been walking around checking it out. We gathered gear and headed for the hot spring. This trip made me take a vow that I would never go another winter without camping in the snow.

I woke up to a loud knock on the window of my camper and opened my eyes to be blinded by a red headlamp. Beau. It was barely light outside, but we wanted to make sure we were the first ones in the tub. All night I wondered if I'd wake up to snow. I quickly remembered, threw on my long johns, and popped open the door. I had to shove it open because the door handles had frozen shut on the van. A few tries and it flew open. I popped out my head out and sure enough: snow. Beau was pretty pumped and had already been walking around checking it out. We gathered gear and headed for the hot spring. This trip made me take a vow that I would never go another winter without camping in the snow.