Piute Pass: Day 02
SECTION No1 Day 02 Basic Info
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BYPORCELAIN ROCKETNorth Lake, California
BLAZING HOT in the morning. Erratic freezing rain in the afternoon. Perfectly pleasant in the evening.
Ride from Bishop to North Lake. Camp at North Lake.
We rode from Bishop to North Lake. It was hard. The bonus miles from the day before took a toll. The erratic freezing rain didn’t help. We stopped off for griddle sandwiches and homemade pie at the Lake Sabrina Boat Landing to wait out the storm before heading up to camp at North Lake.
SECTION No2 The Climb out of Bishop
The section of 168 that heads west out of Bishop is steep and merciless, a true grind. A black serpent stretched out upon the mountainside. There are no beautiful switchbacks, no shade, no trees, no capricious undulations in the road that would force a change in tempo—just one long exposed section after another of unyielding grade. At least the view is nice. But without respite the mind tends to wander, and peripatetic thoughts began to ricochet in the mucky cavern of my consciousness–itinerant ideas holding tryouts that, were this most any other day, would be passed up time after time by the surly old scout of my rationale. But here, in these conditions, an outside idea might stick. Maybe my little brain scout saw something he liked, or maybe he just spent too much time before tryouts getting blasted on Jack and Diet Coke, because there’s nothing like crunching on the sweet burn of aspartame and whiskey between your teeth at 11 AM, reclining in the driver’s seat of your ‘93 Buick LeSabre while blasting the Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider in the parking lot of whatever small town stadium/arena/field/mind parking lot where the idea tryouts are being held. So the scout lets the idea ride, maybe he even signs it– indulging in a flight of fancy.
During the first half of the climb Mt. Tom towers in the distance, a fang, a granite canine lodged in a denticulated ridge of mountains that makes up this stunning stretch of the eastern Sierra Nevada. The flanks of this mountain, this archetype of geologic construction, angle towards each other in lockstep, tapering towards a neatly pointed peak. As I was contemplating its platonic perfection an idea took hold:If an alien rover landed on this planet, would this granite pyramid set off speculation and demand a hypothesis wherein the construction of this mound–with its symmetrical perfection– would be impossible to comprehend without believing it had been done through sentient intervention?”- KVH
Would the eye/eyes receiving the rover’s images, however many millions/billions of miles away, see just another cute stack of rocks or might they assume that this isn’t just a geological pyramid, but a sign of an ancient and a wise race? And if this was the core idea of their speculation, would they wonder what happened to these magnificent titans, these masons of mountains? Would they assume that the six struggling and grunting hominids slowly approaching this splendid construction were supplicants paying respect in ritualistic form, eschewing their ordained bi-pedalism for curious balance machines loaded with all the necessary supplies for a spiritual pilgrimage to this sacred site?
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BYMISSION WORKSHOPAt this point a lifted diesel truck roars past, pulling me out of my daydream, while simultaneously rolling coal on our broken peloton while the obviously exuberant co-pilot waves emphatically at us with an energetic display of his central finger. We’re now climbing a section of the road that parallels Bishop creek and the storm clouds we had seen putting on an impressive display of velocity and precipitation to the north earlier in the day have caught up to us. The grade has yet to yield and while I know that somewhere up ahead of us the climb will come to an end, I have no sense of how close that may be. Each pedal stroke continues to an absurd argument, but idiotic and irrational obstinance prevails, and we carry on.
The dark veil of clouds that had threatened to downpour many times during the later part of the climb unleash a cruel flailing of droplets upon our brow just below the tiny recreational outpost of Cardinal Village. Daniel, in a strategic move, decides to descend a few hundred yards back to a covered camp area while the rest of us continue to climb. Fortunately the rain only lasts a few minutes and it’s not long until we reach the top. We know from past experience that just up the road, through a brief stretch of campgrounds and turnouts, there is a small restaurant/bait shop on the shore (or what was the shore before this year’s long drought decimated California’s water reservoirs, including Lake Sabrina). We don’t know if it’s open, we don’t know what it contains, but most of the crew heads off on a fact-finding mission to find out exactly what treasures it might contain while Dylan and I wait for Daniel. By the time he arrives the other group has not returned and the three of us ride up to meet them. Their bikes are stacked against the wall and inside a radiant being named Patti was waiting. She prepared grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate, steaming bowls of chili, and to finish, sliced off huge wedges of homemade pie. We discussed weather woes and she warned us that the forecast called for snow/rain/misery over the next couple of days. Of course. Having finished our meal we climbed/walked our way up to the North Lake campground to set up camp while indulging in some high-end M.R.E.’s.Night came quickly and with it came sleep. I was all dreamed out because that night I slept deeply in an unconscious abyss betwixt the temples of giants. ”- KVH
SECTION No3 Browns Town
SECTION No4 Breakfast manœuvres
SECTION No5 Leaving Bishop
SECTION No6 Paralleling Bishop Creek
SECTION No7 Snacking at Lake Sabrina
SECTION No8 North Lake Campground
SECTION No9 Night Camo
SECTION No10 Daniel, Caught in a Tuvan Trance
Brief Histories Day 02: Bishop to North Lake Researched and Compiled by Dillon Maxwell
California Highway 395
- Stretches for 557 miles north to south.
- Connects the highest point in U.S., Mount Whitney, to the lowest, Badwater Basin, in Death Valley.
- The road’s path is loosely based off of the Camino Sierra (connecting LA to lake Tahoe), which was one of the main trails used in the Gold Rush.
- In the 1930s the 395 was extended from Spokane, WA all the way to San Diego, using the Camino Sierra as a guide.
- The largest city in Inyo County.
- It is known as the “Mule Capital of the World.”
- Renowned rock climbing area.
- Formed as a result of miners and west-wanderers needing to re-supply.
- August 22, 1861, Samuel Bishop arrives with cattle and establishes the St. Francis Ranch. Soon after, the ranch grew into a town, with an army post and a post office.
In 1870, Native Americans are displaced from the region.
- YJ’s Kyle Von Hoetzendorff is from here.
The Owens River
- 183 Miles long.
- The Owens River played a central role in the California Water Wars.
- By the late 1800s Los Angeles had outgrown its water supply.
- The Owens River was diverted to supply LA with water in 1913.
- From 1902-1905 there are a lot of nefarious dealings to gain water rights for the aqueduct.
- One of the two main actors in the Water Wars, Fredrick Eaton, offered a lot of money to landowners, buying the land for his “cattle ranching” with the ulterior motive of selling it back to the city of LA.
- The resulting diversion of water has taken an enormous toll on the farmers in Owens Valley.
- Elevation: 9,138 ft.
- End point for the eastern section of the 168.
- Named after Sabrina Hobbs, wife of Charles Hobbs, the first GM of the Nevada California Power Company.
- Primary outflow is the Middle Fork of Bishop Creek.
- Dam was built there in 1907-08 to power hydraulic plants in the area.