Thursday, May 2, 2013

Horseshoe Meadows

Today's outing was a drive up the newly opened road to Horseshoe Meadows.  It's an impressive road.  Before it can be opened for the summer, the winter's accumulation of rocks, dirt, sand and debris must be removed by a front loader.
We drove up to the top and headed out on the Cottonwood trail.

It's a beautiful area.  This is a downed tree.  Look how shallow the root system is.

The trail takes you to the meadow.  It's a high desert grass land with a little stream running through it.  That is very cold water.

Another view of the meadows.  We're at 10,000 feet here.  Right after our arrival the wind picked up and we were freezing.  We brought extra clothing, but not enough for that wind.  We decided to bail.

I'm glad we went just to see it, but it wasn't pleasant hiking.  The trails are not packed dirt, they're sand.  I just hate walking in sand.  There are also many signs advising the public that it's an active bear area.  Bears freak me out pretty much.  After about half an hour we were both getting headaches which I attribute to being at 10,000 feet.  However, I got 35 minutes of walking at a reasonable pace in thin air.
This is a bear box.  You are required to put all food and scented items in these boxes so the bears don't ransack the campground.  There is a large area where people can tent camp.  We were wondering if all of the food was stored away, why wouldn't the bears just open up a tent for a tasty snack?

On the way back down.  This is Owens Lake.  It used to be a huge lake, but it was drained to provide water for LA.  After the water was gone, chemicals used for making glass were discovered on the lake bottom and are now being mined.  This is the source of the dust that bedeviled the residents of Manzanar.  There is a dust mitigation program in progress, they're putting water back in the lake bed.

A view from the heights.  See the little green blob in the lower right corner?  That's the RV park where we are currently staying.  The owner has planted many trees.

More going down the hill.  Half of the right lane has gone over the edge and down the hillside, so now it's a single lane.

See the switch backs?  That's where we were driving.

So that and laundry was how we spent the day.

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