This page is a diary of our short camping trip to Bishop Creek. It is primarily intended for viewing by our extended family, but all who feel so inclined are welcome to read it.
4 Aug 03, about 16:30
We got up at 04:30 to rouse the kids and do the final packing. We actually go on the road at 05:30. We left so early to get ahead of the Monday traffic (which worked) and to avoid the desert heat (which also worked, the temperature through Ridgecrest peaked at 86 F). The trip was 295 miles to 4 Jeffery campground on the South Fork of Bishop Creek. We got in about noon. The trip was uneventful.
The 4 Jeffery campground is the largest of several in the Bishop Creek area. The name is derived from the four large Jeffery Pines at the campground entrance. The other campgrounds are either private campgrounds that need reservations or have sites too restrictive for even a small trailer or don't have any more shade than this one. Since it was a Monday, we figured that the campground would be empty and we'd get our pick of the best sites as had happened on past trips. As it turns out, the first 30 spaces (in prime territory) are now on a reservation status and all were booked.
Instead, we took the only other site with a shade tree and enough space for the trailer and the Yukon, site number 59. This site is in the open with no other sites immediately adjacent. Of the five nearest sites, only the furthest is occupied, and it is at least 50 yards away. This is a good thing because the four kids together make incredible amounts of noise. The Fenton kids (Christopher and Brianna) and our two youngest (Zack and Charlie) were with us.
After the campsite was established in a basic sense, I made sandwiches for lunch and then I crashed for a nap. I had been awake since the kids woke me up at 02:00 with their noise. I have no clue why they were still up because they were instructed to get to bed because we would be leaving early. By the time I awoke from my nap, they had managed to pitch their own tents. The Fentons and Zack slept in the fairly large tent that the Fentons brought with them. Charlie got a much smaller tent (the only serviceable one of three) that we had in the trailer.
At about 16:00, I wandered around and took some pictures and then finished converting the trailer from travel mode (stuff stacked all over) to camping mode (extra supplies stashed wherever they would fit). I checked out my iPod and iTrip with an old boom box (we'll have music) and then sat down to write this diary.
4 Aug 03 about 19:00
After scouting the empty campsites for firewood (we found some) to avoid paying $6/bundle at the campground manager's site we made a fire and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs over the grill. After sunset we built another small fire and the kids did the customary marshmallow roast until the fire died again.
The weather has been ideal all day. It's probably about 70 and breezy with puffy clouds against a blue sky. Sandy is taking it all in in the comfort of a camp chair.
This is the view that Sandy had looking up the canyon in the direction of South Lake. The eastern Sierra is a semi-arid region and we are at about 8000 feet so there are few very large trees and a lot of scrub. The stream which runs right by the campground is lined with Aspens.
5 Aug 03 about 16:15
I tried fishing in the morning but there was nothing going. I found out later that AFTER I had tried, Fish and Game stocked the stream. Since we had other plans for the rest of the day, fishing will have to wait until a little later.
Sandy and I drove up to Parcher's (a private camp up near South Lake) to book a horseback ride for some day later in the week. They couldn't book a ride then because the calendar wasn't available, we'll find out later when we can go.
On the way back we stopped to fill and empty propane cylinder but we couldn't do that either because the valve on my cylinder has become obsolete and is illegal to fill.
About 11:00, we packed the crew to drive down to Bishop to visit Schott's Bakery for sandwiches and a trip to the Bishop City Swimming Pool. After a couple of hours in the pool (only I, Brianna and Zack actually swam) we were tuckered out. Then it was off to shopping for some food. We stumbled on an AmeriGas outlet and since I had the empty propane cylinder in the truck, we exchanged it for a refurbished new and legal (and filled) one for $25.
When we got back to the campsite, we found that the wind had rearranged or site somewhat. The wind was gusting hard enough that I thought it wise to retract the awning least the wind rip it off.
Dinner tonight is roast beast and corn on the cob. After dinner, I found that the hot water heater had gone out, again, and didn't want to stay lit. This had been a recurring problem for several years. If there was much breeze at all, it would go out. Once when I went to relight it, it was clearly full of gas as it blew back with a pronounced pop when I went to relight it. I finally figured out that it was hurting for air. I noticed that as soon as I closed the door, it would tend to go out. After leaving the door open, it stayed lit for the entire period it took to heat the water. I think that I will only keep it lit when we will be needing hot water instead of letting it run all the time.
Again at about sunset, we built another small fire and the kids finished off the marshmallows.
5 Aug 03 18:45
While I was editing the previous paragraph, Sandy came out and snapped my picture.
6 Aug 03 11:30
I went fishing again this morning, but no joy. I neither saw a fish or got any kind of a nibble. The plants from yesterday are already gone or in hiding. The proposed horseback ride to the South Lake Overlook is still pending. Apparently there has been a major rock slide in Bishop Pass and the pack outfit at Parcher's is having difficulty just keeping their pack clients in the back country supplied with food. They'll let us know if they can handle us.
Back at the campsite, I set up a chair in the shade of our lone tree and have this view looking more or less west up into the Sierra.
Just by turning my head a little, I get this view looking more or less north.
The view east isn't quite so pretty, just a scrub covered mountainside.
6 Aug 03 about 16:00
After lunch we gathered the clan and loaded the Yukon for a trip to North Lake and Lake Sabrina. This is Sabrina. It was REALLY windy up there (notice the whitecaps). Sabrina is a man made hydropower lake situated at about 9500 feet. From a walk on the dam, I saw several good sized trout swimming right next to the dam. I didn't have my fishing gear and it was too windy to do anything about it anyway.
We also made arrangements to go on a 2 hour trail ride from the pack station at North Lake at 10:00 Thursday morning. North Lake is much smaller than either South Lake or Sabrina and appears to be natural. I couldn't see a dam anyway. The road to North lake is mostly dirt, twisty and marked as unsuitable for trailers. There is a very nice campground there for tents only.
After we got back, all the kids congregated into the trailer playing GameBoy and we couldn't get them to play outside even though the weather was outstanding. Six people in an 18 foot trailer is about four too many. Dinner tonight is lasagna. Maybe 5 lbs of the stuff will feed this crowd.
7 Aug 03 about 17:20
Thursday morning Zack, Brianna and I went on a two hour horseback ride from North Lake to Grassy Lake. Grassy Lake is named for obvious reasons. However, where there is still shallow water and grass to the shore, there are also mosquitos. We all got bit several times at the lake. Christopher didn't want to go and Charlie (who initially did want to go) declined because he had melted his shoes the night before by resting it against the metal fire ring and getting a serious hot foot. Sandy initially didn't want to go because of past back problems, but changed her mind at the last minute. I talked her out of it because if she actually did re-injure her back on the trail, it would be very uncomfortable to get back. As it turns out, the trail was quite rough and by the end of the two hours, I was fully ready to get off.
I was riding at the back of the pack and I had to wait for a switchback to get a good picture of the kids riding in front of me.
After stopping Mortimer (a mule) several times when approaching a switchback so that I could get a picture as the kids rounded the corner, Mortimer got the message and stopped at EVERY switchback. He would then look back at me and wait for instructions to get moving again.
We got back from the ride a little after noon and made lunch, then the whole clan went down to Bishop to swim again and to get Charlie some new shoes and some more provisions.
Zack isn't so hot on the diving board, but he does
do a nice cannonball. The city pool is open from 13:00 to sometime
after 16:00 and gets a pretty good turnout probably because it was very
hot (95 F) in Bishop. When we got back to our campsite, it was only 75
F. The 4000 foot altitude difference between Bishop and Bishop Creek
does make a difference. We were back by dinnertime (tacos) and ready to
settle down for a quiet evening.
8 Aug 03 about 10:45
At about 03:00, I awoke and immediately realized that I had left the computer plugged in to the inverter in the Yukon all night. I had intended to unplug it before bedtime to prevent it from flattening the truck's battery but forgot. Since it was not too cold night, I went out to unplug it and was astounded by the sheer brightness and density of the stars. Starlight alone was sufficient for navigation. The moon (at about half phase) was overly bright right after sundown and obscured many of the fainter stars. However, at 03:00, the moon had gone down and Mars had taken it's place. The Milky Way was very visible and there were many shooting stars. These seemed to be just random events as they came from every direction and in all parts of the sky and the Perseids won't show up until next week. There were lots of them, faint ones several times a minute and really bright and long ones every few minutes. Sandy and I sat in camp chairs and watched for a long time, at least until the 55 F nighttime temperature got to us. I was barefoot and my feet got cold.
It was quesadillas for breakfast this morning then off to go fishing. Notice that I didn't go "catching" because there was nothing in the stream to catch, or a least nothing that I could entice to hit my rig. The rest of the day will be spent lounging around doing not much of anything in preparation for going home Saturday morning. Zack and Charlie start band camp on Monday and Katie has her UH freshman orientation on Sunday evening so we decided to give ourselves some time to work our way home.
The kids are glued to their GameBoys (as they have been all week) and Sandy and I are doing a lot of reading and napping. The weather is fabulous as usual, clear, about 70 F and breezy.
8 Aug 03 about 20:00
As expected, the whole campground is filling up. All of the spaces around us that were empty all week are now filled. Those that arrive on Saturday morning will not find a place here.
9 Aug 03 about 17:30
We traveled home today. The trip was uneventful (thankfully). Even though we got out at about 08:00, it still took till noon to get to Mohave where the temperature was about 97 F. Avoiding the heat didn't work so well because it was 104 F in Van Nuys. The trailer is put away and unpacked and we are all cleaned up. So much for another adventure....
This page has been accessed times since Aug 4, 2003
© 2003-2005 George Schreyer
Created Aug 4, 2001
Last Updated January 30, 2005