Despite some high winds and a little rain, it’s been a good week in the Alabama Hills. The clouds have made for great photos, and we love being able to hike for miles right out our door.
David and Mary arrived on Friday and we took them for a little hike to the nearby Tuttle Creek Ashram, a former spiritual center below Mount Whitney. The road gets pretty steep and rough so where we parked added about a half mile to the hike, 3.9 miles round trip with over 1,300’ of climbing, but well worth the effort.
With it still snowing in the mountains almost daily we decided not to attempt a high elevation hike this time around. Since we had not been to Independence other than driving through, we took a ride there to check out Mazourka Canyon Road, which goes up into the Inyo mountains on the east side of Hwy 395. This was once a prosperous mining district and there is evidence all along the drive.
Although narrow, the dirt road was in good condition but we decided to turn back a couple miles from the 8,000’ summit since the temperature had already dropped into the 40s, we got a few drops of rain, and it was windy.
Not pleasant hiking weather so we went back down to a jeep road that led to a mine, where we hiked up the road a mile or so but didn’t make it to the mine. It was warmer but we could barely keep our hats on for the wind.
We did enjoy the views, though.
We also visited the historic Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery. It was damaged by a devastating mudslide in 2008 and is no longer an active hatchery, but the building is still open for visitors with a gift shop and small but interesting museum inside. The grounds are beautiful, and can be rented for weddings.
The story is that in 1915, Fish and Game Commissioner M. J. Connell instructed the design team "to design a building that would match the mountains, would last forever, and would be a showplace for all time." We think they did an excellent job, at a cost of $60,000 in 1917 dollars.
And one last hike through the Alabama Hills yesterday afternoon before the rain.
Our very own Subaru commercial.
Today we move north to Bishop.