Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Camping in the Eastern Sierra

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend?

This weekend, Cameron and I headed out to do some camping! When I mentioned to my sister (who lives in NYC) on Friday that we were going camping, her response was "Why? Isn't living in Tahoe kind of like camping all the time?" And it's somewhat true. Tahoe is full of natural beauty, it's fairly remote, and lots of people do come here to camp in the summer. So it might seem a little silly that we'd drive somewhere even more remote to spend the weekend in the mountains and see lakes when we can see mountains off our back deck and we're only 10 minutes away from one of the most gorgeous lakes in the country...but that's just what we did and we had a great time! 

We camped near the town of Bridgeport, CA which is a little under two hours south of where we are in Tahoe. Bridgeport is apparently a hot spot for fishing as there are lots of rivers and lakes in the area, but there is also tons of camping/hiking. We stayed at the Buckeye Campground in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area, and despite the terrible name (GO BLUE!) the campground worked out well for the weekend. Because it's still pretty early in the season it was really empty this weekend, so it was very quiet and we were able to get a spot right by the creek. This is definitely a "rustic" campground aka no showers/potable water/actual bathrooms...just vault toilets. Honestly as much as I love being a girlie girl, it was nice to not bring any make-up or even a hair brush with me for the weekend, not look in a mirror for 48 hours, not even shower (gross but true), and just rough it for a few days. It's seriously one of the things I love most about camping, along with not having cell service as it's nice to take a (much-needed) break from my phone!
Buckeye Campground has some secluded natural hot springs nearby that we checked out on Friday night. I wasn't able to get a picture of the hot springs themselves because you actually had to hike down a few hundred feet to get to them, but I did snap a quick picture of the sunset before heading down. It was a really neat experience to sit in the natural hot springs; they were the perfect temperature and it was a relaxing way to start the weekend!
 For this particular camping trip, we opted not to bring our tent and just put the air mattress in the back of the Jeep instead. It ended up working out pretty well, but Lola was kind of freaked out as to why we were sleeping in the car. This is how she looked when we woke up Saturday morning, ha! "Guys, are we living in the car now?!"
 Saturday morning, we relaxed at the campsite and ate breakfast we brought from home. Cam made another egg casserole before we left except this time he used chicken sausage instead of pork and added sweet potato--so good! 
 Camping can be pretty chilly in the mornings/evenings so I tend to bundle up!
 "Wait for it...wait for it..."
 "Attack!" (Seriously, she's ridiculous haha)

After breakfast, we drove over to the Twin Lakes area to do a day hike. We did the hike to Barney Lake, which was a pretty easy 8-mile day trip (although I think from where we parked it was probably closer to 9 miles). We started out at Mono Village on Twin Lakes and hiked through a beautiful canyon and some aspen groves before reaching a secluded little lake. Definitely a great day hike to do if you're in the area!
I didn't realize my hiking stuff was so reflective until looking at this picture :)
Thirsty girl
 Such a gorgeous area!
Barney Lake
 Like I said, I didn't pack make-up or a hairbrush--ha!
Lola had a blast, I'm so happy she finally likes the water because she used to hate it.

After our hike, we stopped in town to get food. Bridgeport is nothing to write home about, but it's a good base for getting out to explore the mountains. And eat junk food.
After getting our fill of nacho fries (so gross, yet so good) and ice cream, we decided to go check out the other hot springs in the area, Travertine Hot Springs. Travertine has an amazing view of the mountains, and unlike Buckeye Hot Springs, you don't have to hike down to get to them. However, you definitely get an interesting crowd of people--there was an old guy with a VW Van playing guitar, a group of kids smoking weed, a few smaller groups of people in bathing suits, and an older guy...wearing nothing but a wide-brimmed sun hat. Yeah. Travertine Hot Springs are very shallow and have lots of silt, so they're actually a little gross to sit in. Cameron and I just stuck our legs in for a bit and called it a day. However, they're worth checking out for the views alone!
 Part of the reason we ended up leaving the hot springs so quickly (besides the naked old man, ha!) was because sweet Lola got bitten by some horseflies and was really miserable. We went back to the campground to relax and put some Benadryl on her bug bites, but her face still ended up swelling up a bit. Poor baby ended up napping in the car for awhile.
 Sidenote: Our camera is still having this annoying issue where it won't focus on things close up (hence why this picture of Lola is blurry), even when I have it in manual focus--I can't figure out why it's doing this, so if anyone has suggestions let me know!
 S'mores are my favorite part of camping, hence why I felt it necessary to bring three types of chocolate. Best s'more? Chocolate graham cracker with Hershey's dark chocolate. So good.
 After grabbing coffee Sunday morning, we headed out to an area north of Bridgeport to do another day hike. We had originally planned to do a higher elevation hike, but after hearing it was still covered in snow we opted to go to Leavitt Meadows instead. This area had a great little hiking loop and although I'm not sure the exact distance of the route we took, I'm guessing it was about 6 miles or so. We took the signs toward Secret Lake and then came back through Leavitt Meadows, a fun way to spend our Sunday!
 Secret Lake
 It was so incredibly clear!
 Lola loving life.
She tried befriending another dog, who was a much stronger swimmer than she was
 Little peanut trying to keep up--"Please be my friend!"
 Lola taking a quick break on the trail, she was pretty tired out after the swim!
 We came home over Monitor Pass, and ended up passing by this unassuming place on our way back to Tahoe. However, I had read about it in this month's Sunset magazine and remembered they had homemade pies and baked goods. Obviously we had to stop.
Although the fact that my camera won't focus makes for terrible food photos (seriously, I'm so annoyedddd), let me tell you, that homemade marionberry pie a la mode was worth the stop...and so was the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie we ordered, not pictured. I have a feeling we'll be making another trip back to Hope Valley Cafe in the near future!

One thing is for sure, no matter what we're doing or where we travel, we'll always find the good food--even in the middle of nowhere California. 

Another solid weekend on the books, here's to a good week! Xoxo

PS: Linking up with Sami and Leeann today! :)

4 comments:

  1. My hat is off to you! It does look like you guys hit some really pretty areas though! Glad you had a fun weekend!! :)

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  2. How fun!! My husband and I are going camping with his family at the end of this month up near Big Bear..I'm pretty excited.

    And I am SO curious about that egg casserole that your husband made...when did he make it and when did you guys eat it? I'm thinking about bringing my mom's egg casserole and it has similar ingredients, but wasn't sure if it would be good after a day or two.

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  3. Gorgeous photos, and looks like so much fun! You're far more adventurous than I am . . . my fiance is always trying to get me to go camping, and I steadfastly refuse. I don't really consider myself high maintenance persay, but I need my running water! (Though if views like that awaited me, I might be persuaded.)

    As a sidenote, we were in Lake Tahoe this time last year to visit -- SO gorgeous! We did a whole San Francisco/Napa/Tahoe/Yosemite excursion and had so much fun. Love your corner of the world. :) And such a refreshing pace for this D.C. girl!

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  4. Incredible pictures. Looks like you had a peaceful lovely time.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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