Skye and I are making our annual pilgrimage to Mammoth Lakes for her final Shakespeare Camp, at least as a student. She may continue to return as a teacher/counselor in the future, but by then she won't need my chaperoning, so this could very well be our last road-trip to the Bard in the Sierras.
We've made this cross-country road trips so many times now that we've lost count. We both have had our fill and tried long and hard to come up with a way to fly out instead.
But it just didn't make sense, logistically, financially, practically etc. etc.
Peaks and Valley; More Peaks Please
Instead of racing across the country in 3 days, which has become routine given work and school schedules in the past we were able to carve out a 7 day trip, which meant I could limit the driving I did everyday and go a little easy on my body.
Jon Danniells checked in to Amarillo, Texas.
July 11 at 10:40pm ·
I hadn't plan to drive 700 miles today; however.....
Or we could make it interesting and try to check off some more State High-Points.
We've made it 22,, 28 to go, we'll try to bag 2 on our way out, one while we're there and possibly 8 on our way back, 11 plus 22 would bring us to 33; leaving 17, 9-New England, 6 Pacific and Northwest, 2 Out of continental US.
That was "the plan".
We had also planned to try to exercise at rest stops and eat as healthy as possible. So when we got Memphis we decided to skip the Bar-b-cue scene and head over to Whole Foods and stock up for the next couple of days.
However on the way there we were "distracted" by Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. Can you blame us? They're "World Famous" after all.
And check out their delivery vehicle
Pirate Camping in Taos
We drove up to the trail head at Wheeler Peak and then drove back into town to get some dinner.
There were 4 "official" campgrounds that were completely full. But we noticed several areas along the roadside where cars were parked and tents were set up.
We found such a secret little spot and pitched our tents.
A lovely babbling brook drowned out the sound of the roadside traffic.
We were up and at it pretty early, packed up and on the trail by 7:30.
The Williams Lake trail to the summit is approximately seven miles round trip and is a steep class 2 trail, with the final 1000 ft being a rocky scree slope.
It was a pretty intense trail with some serious inclines and treks over scree and boulder sections.
We ran across dozens of fat and fluffy marmots and on our hike down came across several big horn sheep
Jon Danniells added 3 new photos.
July 13 at 8:00pm · Buena Vista, CO · Cindy was texting me the first photo at the same time I was texting her a photo of Skye and myself at New Mexico's highest point, Wheeler Peak; Wow!!!!
Jon Danniells checked in to House Rock Kitchen.
July 13 at 7:41pm · Buena Vista, CO · Refueling after a grueling hike to New Mexico's highest point, Wheeler Peak (13,151 ft) and then driving 3 hrs to camp at trail head to tackle Colorado's highest point, Mt. Elbert, tomorrow
It was getting dark as we were driving up to the camp grounds at the foot of Mt. Elbert. I had no idea whether there would be any openings at the official camp sites so when we came across what looked like a camp site, sort of, we pulled in and set our tents up.
Heck, it was already late and we'd be up and out before any one might take notice.
This hike was super intense.
It was our first 14'er, the term applied to summits above 14,000 ft.
We were still adapting to the elevation and suffering a bit from the stresses put on us from the day before.
It was a much longer as well as more difficult trail. At times, we were literally crawling up the scree slope.
A wedding party passed us at some point and when we finally summited they had champagne flutes in hand and were toasting there very special day.
Jon Danniells checked in to The Summit Of Mt. Elbert, Co - 14,433 Ft.
July 14 at 2:08pm · Granite, CO · We did it!!!! Another state high point; more pictures to follow after wedding party clears out
Jon Danniells checked in to Altitude Bar and Grill.
July 14 at 7:28pm · Vail, CO · Enjoying a much deserved beer, to be followed by a hot shower, Internet access and a night's sleep in a bed.
We ended up in the same hotel in Vail that we were at on last tour.
Jon Danniells checked in to Ramada Copper Queen.
21 hrs · Ely, NV · Made it a bit further than planned; will be getting into Mammoth Lakes a day early
We couldn't find a place to camp so we kept on driving until we made it to Ely, Nevada.
There are lots of obstacles on the road or at least lots of sign about obstacles on the road.
We didn't see any deer, elk or roadside livestock, but there were lots of gigantic jack rabbits and unfortunately I couldn't swerve in time to save a big rattler that was crossing the road.
After a night in a surreal hotel casino, we only had a 5 hour jaunt to get to Mammoth Lakes. I was able to swing by the Clown Motel to pick up a t-shirt to replace the one Skye hacked up and then made into a pillow.