After our first several days in Tuolumne, we moved all of 30 miles to Lee Vining just on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We usually pass through here on our way back to San Francisco late in October or November. The town is usually pretty much closed up – whether Tioga Pass is open or not. This time, the gourmet spot of the eastern sierra’s, The Mobile Station, was still open. That’s right, the best food in the area can be had at the fast food place (Called the Whoa Nellie Deli) in the Mobile gas station. We feasted on carnitas tacos and split a bottle of wine and watched the local color go by. It was a beautiful evening. The station is located on a rise well above Mono Lake and as the light got low, it softened and cast a wonderful glow over the entire lake and surrounding area. We sat and listened to live music preformed outside in a separate eating area before returning to our motorhome.
Great Basin National Park is another place we’ve used as a go-between overnight place. The campground is at around 7,000 ft level, and with a stream running through it, was very pleasent. We even had a resident wild turkey that came though our space around 1 pm each day.
There are the famous Lehman Caves here of course, but the draw for us this time were the Bristlecone Pines. These trees are the oldest living things on earth and thought to be 2 -3,000 years old. They grow in only a very narrow altitude range of around 10,000 feet. The environment is so harsh, the trees become twisted and stunted. They look every bit their age. But in their age is profound beauty. I was most attracted to the abstract possibilities of the old trunks, and made most of my photographs with this in mind.
Every time we’ve been here, we couldn’t get to the area due to snow. This time worked out well and we hike the 1.5 mile trail with a rise of 600 ft. to visit the grove for the next two days. Unfortunately, our timing was off a little the first afternoon, as we arrived at the grove just after the sun went behind the ridge. The next afternoon, we started off earlier, but still arrived too late for ideal light. We made the best of what we had and still came away with some nice work.