The Heat Is On

After getting our permit for the next peak Mt. Langley we found a hotel room in Bishop, about 50 miles north of Lone Pine. The temperature was 105 so camping was not going to happen, which sucked because that was our plan to save money. The hotel options in Lone Pine were not great, so even though we would need to drive right back to Lone Pine the next day, it was worth the drive to get a cool play to stay relatively cheaply.

The next day we drove up to the Mt. Langley trailhead, our next 14’er. The parking lot is at 10,000 ft so we were expecting the blast furnace heat of the valley floor to be gone, or at least relent some. It was near 90 degrees and there was no source for water for miles, even though there should have been. It was later in the day, we planned to stay the night there and then head in the next day, and the peak and surrounding area looked like scorched earth and we had a feeling that we need to change the plan.

As far out as the forecast would show us it was only going to get hotter. We had not seen a cloud in a week by now. Many of the routes we wanted to climb on these peaks need snow to make the climb go…..it was really sad to see that the Sierras had already lost ALL of their snow even though it was only mid June.

Facing more of the same heat, lack of fun routes we wanted to climb and expensive hotels in between climbs we decided we wanted out of the heat. The trouble was that the heat was everywhere in the West. We could climb in Utah, but the heat was there too. There was no going South, as it was only hotter there. North saw triple digit heat all the way to Portland Oregon. So, we got back in the truck, drove away from the trailhead and back to Bishop. We found a brewery to escape the heat from, and plan our next move.

We searched possible destinations based on weather forecasts and drive times. We were shocked to see that Mammoth Mountain was only 45 minutes away and 25 degrees cooler. So after one beer and a 45 minute drive, we found ourselves cruising a campground for that night’s’ resting place. Unfortunately it was the dirties, bear riddled campground we’d ever been to.

That night and the next morning we weighed our options. What won out was to escape the heat by heading West, through Yosemite National Park, then onto the Pacific coast, where the temps were in the mid 60’s. Once there we can enjoy the cooler conditions while seeing some new to us terrain. By mid morning we were on the road and by noon we were at the east entrance gate to Yosemite.

The weather high in the park on the East side was wonderful, cool and clear. As we drove further West to see the main attractions in the park the air began to fill with smoke from a nearby forest fire. As we dropped down into the heart of the park the temperature soared. By the time we battled for a parking spot at the visitor center the temps were in the mid-90’s. We enjoyed the exhibits that park has and took the best photos we could of the sites through the smoke.

Thirty minutes later we were at the hotel we found online that morning, located just outside the park entrance. It was 100 degrees, the first thing we did was take a shower, and since this hotel was the only thing for miles, we broke out the camping stove and backcountry food we had already bought and had a tasty backcountry meal right in our room…,nothing but class here.

The next morning we were bound for the Pacific Ocean.

Takeaways:

  • Be flexible and keep a wide perspective, when original plans don’t work out don’t be afraid to make changes, even big ones.
  • Liz doesn’t do well with prolonged exposure to temps above 100 degrees
  • Neither of us enjoy driving more than 200 is miles per day between campgrounds
  • We don’t enjoy spending endless hours planning and searching for lodging, and last but not least…
  • We don’t enjoy spending money on things and places that aren’t awesome.

Many of these things are no brainers really, but since switching lifestyles we find ourselves outside of our comfort zone. We are still searching for how best to be full-time traveler’s day-in-and-day-out. From a distance it looks like it should be easy but it can really push you.


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