Snowshoeing in the Sierras

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew and I decided to go do some snowshoeing...for the first time ever! We have talked about buying some for the last couple of years, but decided to borrow some for a trial run then make a final decision. They were much easier to use than I expected because everyone has told us how awkward and difficult it is. We drove north to Lee Vining and picked up the snowshoes then went a little further north to snowshoe. There are so many options on places to go so we decided to snowshoe out to a couple of different hot springs.
The view looking south at Mono Lake.

As we were driving down the road, we spotted two bald eagles perched in a tree. Very cool!

The first hot spring we visited is just outside of Bridgeport, CA. It is actually so close to town and a favorite spot for locals, we were able to drive there even though the road had not been plowed and was pretty snowed over.

There are several small pools and seeps, but the one below is the most popular. I'm sure you can tell's beautiful!

After a quick visit here (no soak, only a few photos) we drove west, across town and up into the base of the Eastern Sierra's to camp. It was eighteen degrees when we went to bed that night. We slept in the bed of the truck in our zero degree bags, so we were toasty warm.

The next morning we snowshoed three miles on a Forest Service road out to Buckeye Hot Springs.
Winter hiking at its finest!
We found snowshoeing to be tons of fun and a great workout just as we had heard. We will definitely be investing in some of these in the future. I'm sure the older style, tennis racket snowshoes are much more difficult to use than the style we have on.
There was a solid base of at least three feet of snow on the ground. Thank goodness there were old snowmobile tracks for Boss to walk on because he was sinking up to his belly on his own.

After three miles....

we finally arrived at Buckeye Creek.

And right beside the creek, literally a wall of rocks away, were the most amazing hot springs!

Even though we didn't plan on this and we didn't have our bathing suits, we couldn't resist this incredibly, magical gift. We soon had wet undies! :)

It snowed on and off during the two hours we were there. When we looked over and saw that our stuff (clothes, backpacks, and camera gear) were completely white, we decided to go. What an awesome day!

Where The Wild Things Are

The Local Ring-tailed Cat
This cute, little critter has been living the good life at the Inn and has been outsmarting all the humans for a few weeks now! A cook took this picture during a mad chase through the kitchen one day. After several days of quick glimpses as it scurried through the kitchen, live traps were set out. However, those traps remained empty for a couple of weeks while card board boxes were being ripped into by the ring-tailed cat during the night. There have been no sightings in the last week, so it is thought that it has moved on to a quieter place.
These rarely seen animals are in the raccoon family, and are timid and nocturnal. They are solitary animals that live in rocky, desert regions. So, it's odd that it chose such a noisy place to take up residence for a few weeks, but it gave our staff some excitement and a good laugh. Andrew and I never got to see it though. To those of you that know that the bobcat story---I think it was scared of me!

Valley of Fire

Last week Andrew, Dannielle, and I drove over to Valley of Fire State Park, which is about forty-five minutes northeast of Las Vegas. Valley of Fire is Nevada's oldest and largest state park. The red sandstone formations, which it is so popular for, were sand dunes during the dinosaur ages. We had beautiful weather and a great time all around.

These first few pictures were taken around the campground that we stayed in for a night.

Great eroded holes.

The Rainbow Vista.

We drove over to the White Dome area and hiked a short loop through beautifully sculpted and colorful rocks and a narrow canyon.

Boss is so spoiled. He will only drink water from a camelbak. We have tried carrying those collapsible dog bowls because it helps conserve water, but he refuses to use them.
We thought this looked like an interesting place to take a walk. It was just a pull-over at a dip in the road with an intriguing wash to check out.

There were tons of these crazy fin-like rock formations everywhere.

Beautiful colorful sandstone.

Boss found a place to cool down and get wet. I don't think it was too stagnant since we have had rain recently.

We saw this canyon in the distance and decided to take a closer inside.

Fun, fun.

Boss dog waits patiently while we play.

We checked out the famous Elephant Rock on our way out of the park.