Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hike: Rush Creek Trail, June Lake, CA

Length: 4.2 miles
Type: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 1256 feet
Highest Elevation: 8531 feet
Duration: n/a


Getting There

I hike this trail during my road trip to San Diego and back in May 2018. I'd been following the Sierra Nevadas & Hwy 395 since Lake Isabella/Kernville.

The Hike 

coming soon

Trail just below Agnew Lake



Interesting Tidbit

I actually hike this trail before in 2000-2001. Two friends and I had been camping near Mammoth for the weekend. We made it further up the trail to Gem Lake and possibly even Waugh Lake. 


The Map


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Road Trip: Portland, OR to San Diego, CA

This is the first road trip of my hiatus. I had originally planned to drive directly from Portland to Crescent City on Sunday, May 20, 2018. I was going to pack my car on that Saturday then get an early start the following morning. After getting everything packed up, I realized I wanted to get going. A long journey starts with the first step.


Day 1 (May 18): Portland to Eugene, OR

I found a hotel in Eugene and got going. Actually, it was a long two-hour drive. I was able to adjust the gear in the Jeep so it didn't bounce and such. I found a 'shop' nearby and got some supplies. I got some food and beers somewhere with a patio. I think I had a nap after that and we for a later evening (9p) outing to find more beer. I think I had one pint and felt stuffed and went back to the hotel.


Day 2 (May 19): Eugene to Crescent City, CA

Weird to have to go through checkpoint into CA but not into OR


Day 3 (May 20): Crescent City to Bodega Bay, CA

first camp night. camp fire was rad, gear seemed good (tent, sleeping bag, pad)


Day 4 (May 21): Bodega Bay to Big Sur, CA

Chill camp site at the Riverside Campground in Big Sur. Wish I had carved out some time to stay and hike.
Camp mom offered to give me mountain route to King City since Hwy 1 closed by Hearst Castle (didn't take the offer). She complimented me about the Jeep.
I was impressed with older guy that had the giant 5th wheel at the campground. The road off the highway to camp was pretty tight.
I could never really get the camp fire going. Wood from camp store was wet, lots of smoke, needed lots of attention.


Day 5 (May 22): Big Sur to Santa Monica, CA

Planned to stay east of Santa Barbara. didn't realize that it was like 1 hr from Hwy 101, ocean was no where in sight. Too hot, I wanted to make a campfire but this was tinder land, it was on the Santa Ynez River (Paradise Campground). Even with Google Map I couldn't find the campground; I probably drove past it. Plus, I didn't even have food supplies so it was a bust all around.

I ended up driving another 2 hours to Santa Monica, Sea Shore Motel.


Day 6 (May 23): Santa Monica to Imperial Beach, CA

I took my time driving down to San Diego. It was a harrowing drive though on the freeways. So fast. I think I took a toll road, CA State Route 73 to Laguna Niguel, then south on I-5.

I remember being silent as I passed San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. I thought about Curt and I on that surf trip. I exited the freeway right after Camp Pendleton. I hugged the coast. I remember that place we stayed in Carlsbad.  

I remember staying in the living room and hearing the ocean. Then, that one year when the sand was replaced by the rocks. Then the sound changed and they cackled & crackled with the waves. We still could boogie board but it was rough on the feet. I had a blob of tar on the bottom of my board. weird.
I remember going through Encinitas. That sketchy apartment that Curt lived in. The restaurant that I took Mary. The Del Mar Fairgrounds, sneaking in through the horse stables. I had to detour in Torrey Pines. I think I was able to find my way along that road I used to walk from the bus stop to Curt's house. That Circle K. Or that place we got fries. 

Then, up to the golf course and UCSD. I went down by the aquarium and passed the beach.

When I got into La Jolla, I took a spin by the old house. I might have gotten that sandwich at Marketplace Grille first. I took a picture of the Louis Kahn mural on the Citibank building on Herschel Ave & Wall St.

I cruised down by Windansea and then down through Bird Rock.

As I was heading down Turquoise I saw Mega Car Wash. My Jeep needed a mega car wash. So many bugs, dirt. It seemed to be women run and staffed by Hispanic women. I made sure to put a decent tip in modified (locked) mailbox they had set up.

I drove by the old apartments on Dawes/Missouri. I drove down Garnet. I strutted my way down Mission Blvd. in my shiny Jeep. I took a blurry photo of the wooden roller coaster. I thought about watching the Sunburns and sitting in on bass with Wayne.

I drove across Mission Bay to Midway. I drove in to Ocean Beach and passed my old apartment on Longbranch. I drove down Newport and the Black. Then, over to the old apartment on Ocean Front. I remember that guy that mountain climbed with the old school camper on the his truck. I remember when Sonja, Erica and the crew lived nearby on Del Monte. That dude with the curly hair.

I hopped the hill to Point Loma and downtown San Diego. I crossed the Coronado Bridge and down the Palm Ave and the Silver Strand. I remember going to prom at the Hotel Del Coronado with the girl from Kinko's in the yellow Jag.

I noticed the campground on the beach that we stayed at to race the Hobie cat. We had the van, Chris Lighter and I. 

I finally made it to IB and my hotel. I got settled for a bit, stretched my legs. I called Matt. He was busy with softball practice. When he showed up we wandered down the Coronado Brewpub. They closed at 9p so we only have one pitcher. We ended up back at my room for a couple more brews and conversation.


Day 7 (May 24): Imperial Beach, CA

Met Wayne for lunch at Rubio's on Friars Road. We drove to his house afterwards. He tried to give me some camping gear but I refused.

I drove to Adventure 16 (A16) on Alvarado Canyon Rd. I needed a camp stove and remember going there as a kid for ski equipment.

I met Matt for more beers at Coronado Brewpub. Mei Ling was making dinner.

Stumbled to Murray house. Good to see Mei Ling and the boys and grandma. We grilled outside and chilled. Too much laughing. stomach hurts. Stumbled back to hotel.


Day 8 (May 25): Imperial Beach to Barstow, CA

Stopped by Murray house in the morning. Bittersweet visit.

Met Aunt Sharon at Mediterraneo in Alpine.

Drove through Pine Valley, Julian, and through Cleveland National Forest to I-15. (Hwy 79)

I had camp reservations at Lake Isabella but not until Day 10 so I had to figure things out for two nights. I'd originally planned to drive back up through SoCal and had hotel/motel reservations in Lake Forest (ugh!) and San Luis Obispo (cool). (I remember stopping in SLO on another road trip. I had pizza at Woodstock Pizza.

Matt had floated the idea to checkout a 4WD trail from Beatty, NV through Death Valley. I figured Barstow was a good place to stop & plan, right on Route 66. I felt 'homesick' after seeing Aunt Sharon. I should have carved more time out for her. I should have spent a couple of days in Brawley. I stubbornly wanted this to be a camping trip, not a reunion trip.


Day 9 (May 26): Barstow to Kernville, CA

I stopped in Kramer Junction for breakfast. Astro Burger was closed. I wasn't sure if permanently or just not that early. I thought there was another place we used to stop was just gone, a concrete slab.

I wasn't able to add a second night to my camping reservation so I stayed in Kernville. I found a spot at Piazza's Pine Cone Inn. Kernville Brewing was right next door. I shouldn't have had any beers. I got a good buzz by 6pm. I wandered down by the river but was napping by 7pm.


Day 10 (May 27): Lake Isabella, CA

I explored Lake Isabella. Visited Silver City Ghost Town in Bodfish. I also bought my big straw hat somewhere around the lake.

I drove the end of Engineer Point. I had a nightmare vision of the Jeep rolling into the lake. I think I really pulled the e-brake lever, triple checked that it was in-gear, made sure it wasn't locked and even found a rock to put behind one of the rear tires.

I had a dusty campsite at the KOA.


Day 11 (May 28): Lake Isabella to Convict Lake, CA

I was supposed to camp near Lone Pine on Hwy 395 but was still to arid. No campfires. I was ready to get higher into the Sierras. 

I stopped at Manzanar. :(

I was heading into Mammoth by the airport and saw the turn off for Convict Lake. It was a "fuck it, let's check it out" moment. I was just going to look at the lake but found there was room at the inn, aka the Convict Lake Campground. I set up my tent, mattress and sleeping bag, then got in the Jeep to go to the end of Convict Creek Road and the Fisherman's Trail trailhead. 

I only walked in a few hundred feet along the shore. It was amazing to be around these jagged peaks. Clean, crisp air.

I had a nice dinner and drinks at the Convict Lake Restaurant.

I got a fire going but it was windy and I was chasing large embers that had escaped the fire pit. Not worth it. I let it die and poured water until it was fully drowned. It was tough night. The wind keep making the tent billow in and out loudly.


Day 12 (May 29): Convict Lake to Mammoth Lakes, CA

I got an early, weary, start in the morning. Convict Lake is only 15 mins from Mammoth. I went up to the Main Lodge. I bought a hat at the shop. I wandered around the lockers and could picture a thousand snapshots from when I was a kid.

I did a hike to Inyo Craters, and I got to drive a little off-road. I thought about that camp-bike trip I did with Matt, Chris, and Leon.

I drove over to Old Mammoth. I photographed I tried to find the campground where I stayed with Julea and Cynthia. I drove passed the Canyon Lodge (Warming Hut 2). The old part of Mammoth that we used to stay. I remember the huge snow berms and going to the jacuzzi.

Checked into Holiday Haus. Walked to Sushi Rei on Minaret Rd. I was too stuffed to get beers at Mammoth Brewing Company but I thought about it.

I tried to find the quonset hut we used to stay when it was a Boys Only trip. Bunk beds, icy cold showers unless you got up early enough. I remember Ian and I tuning our skis for a Sunday race.


Day 13 (May 30): Mammoth Lakes to Lee Vining, CA

Slow Day. I got the Jeep washed and made another stop. I didn't really want to leave but wasn't sure what to do. The camping was limited and it really wasn't the same place. Wrong season maybe to relive some of those memories. 

I wanted to check out June Lake. I stopped for lunch at Gordos Mexican Restaurant on June Lake Loop.

A late choice was to do the Agnew Hike. I eventually put two and two together that it was the trail I hiked with C and J. Since I was there so late I just played it by ear. I felt the sun going down (it wasn't) when I got to Agnew Lake. I wished I'd come earlier to hike further passed the dam and Gem Lake.

I felt accomplished none the less. It was good hike and I got some great views. I drove to Lee Vining to Murphey's Motel. I checked it and found the room then walked to Bodie Mike's for dinner and a pint.


Day 14 (May 31): Lee Vining to El Portal, CA

Checked out Mono Lake 

Bird watcher with cell phone, long wooden boardwalk

Drive into the mountain on Hwy 120. Tons of amazing views.

I drove into Yosemite Valley. There was almost no parking and especially not anywhere near The Ahwahnee. I took some photos of El Capitan and Half Dome and the meadow.

I drove out of the park to my hotel, Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal. I was quiet and peaceful, away from the classic sights/sites and people.


Day 15 (June 1): El Portal to Petaluma, CA

I decided to check out Hetch Hetchy but I had to drive back into the park. It was a traffic jam to the Big Oak Flat Road turnoff. I looked for camping spots and FCFS. Nothing. I found the reservoir. I parked for a short hike. It turned into a long hike, 4.6 miles, to a waterfall.

I drove out of the forest on a paved but seemingly unmarked road. It was not the way I'd expected to go and I didn't have any cell service. After 45 mins, a van full of kids passed by in the other direction. Eventually I linked back to Hwy 120 and drove into valley.

I got to Petaluma in late and didn't want to bug my aunt and uncle. I found a cheap motel on 101. Literally, feet from whizzing cars. It sucked. I got a crappy meal from the casino next door and watched tv.


Day 16 (June 2): Petaluma, CA

I took a quick trip to the coast, Point Reyes. I hiked to the lighthouse and drove down to the beach with the elephant seals.

I returned to Petaluma and drove to my Aunt and Uncle's house.

After getting settled, we drove to the Lagunitas Brewing place for dinner.


Day 17 (June 3): Petaluma, CA

We had coffee in the morning.

I had lunch with Aunt Stuy. Then, Uncle Bob and I took the Jeep to the car wash while Aunt Stuy shopped for dinner at Terry's.

We drove to Novato to Terry & Brian's. It was Aunt Stuy, Uncle Bob, Terry, Jeff, Brayden, and Marla. Brian, Corinne, Natalie weren't there.


Day 18 (June 4): Petaluma to Klamath Falls, OR

We had coffee in the morning and Aunt Stuy packed a lunch for me.

I drove up to Redding, then to Hwy 97 to Klamath Falls.

Almost got squashed by two large trucks.

I checked into my hotel and walked to a fancy place for dinner. I sat awkwardly at the bar; the food was too far away and the chair too low. it was a lounge, seating for doing some drinkin' and slouchin'.


Day 19 (June 5): Klamath Falls back to Portland, OR

I got an early start to head to Crater Lake. I'd been carrying these snow shoes for this entire trip. I had a weird image in my mind about being able to hike around the closed areas. Turns out it wasn't great, mosquitos and windy. I got some awesome photos and made several stops around the rim.

I got to Bend around lunchtime. I had camp reservations at Tumalo. I was travel weary and within striking distance to being home, in my own bed, etc. I made the journey up Hwy 97 to 26 and back home. 

I remember getting gas at the Chevron in Boring right off 26.