Alabama Hills

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Friday

The plan was for two night and three day stay  in Lone Pine. We would meet up with the grandparents on Friday, stay with them in their new RV, and come home on Sunday. While we were there it would be time to explore the Alabama Hills and other things that surrounded Lone Pine.

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The drive to Lone Pine was a long one for us. It would take us about 4.5 hours to get there. We left early in the morning and arrived just before lunch time. The RV was completely setup as they had arrived the night before. As soon as lunch was made, we all piled into my in-law’s truck and drove up into the Alabama Hills.

As we passed through Lone Pine, we stopped at a small cafe to pick up a map. The map showed the names of certain rock formations along a loop we could drive. I grabbed one, said thank you, and we proceeded up Whitney Portal Drive. We then made a left going in reverse order to find the rock formations. We found the first two, but then spotted a cave entrance. We parked and hiked a very short distance up the hill to check it out. Maybe it was a powder storage at one point for blasting, but we were not sure. We then jumped back in the truck and proceeded up the road looking for more rock formations.

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As proceeded up the road, I think we found a hand full of the formations like “the cougar” or the “walrus”. We were not able to see the other ones and decided if we were going in order they may be easier to see. A dirt road went up and over a hill, so John decided to follow it. He put the truck in 4WD and on the way we went. We parked up top and started to explore.

It was a nice walk around to see grand views of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as the expanse of the Alabama Hills. The rock formations were quite impressive and with no trails anywhere, we made our own just as others had done before us. We snapped a few photos along the way before heading over to a place John and Glenda knew about. There was an arch and a “heart” in the rock. It sounded fun so off to an official trail we went.

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Along the way to Movie Road we saw some of the formations we had missed. We backtracked down to Whitney Portal Road and saw most of the rock formations on the map. Then we turned right on Movie Road and headed to the trail. Upon arrival there were several cars and a trail sign to guide us.

The trail went down a small ravine and then back up again. In the distance we could see the arch that formed a heart shape in the middle. John mentioned as you get close to the actual formation, you realize it is not a heart but a few parts of the rock lined up to form a heart from where the trail originally started. As we walked close the formation no longer resembled this heart we saw. We did not complete the loop at this time, so turned back around and decided to drive out the rest of the way to the north.

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The drive was pleasant and we saw the northern portions of Alabama Hills. Many people had set up camping sites along the way. It would be “dry” camping, but the views were spectacular. The rocky boulders of Alabama Hills topped off with Mt. Whitney and the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. The sky was a deep blue and it was so peaceful. Anyway, we made our way back to highway 395 and drove back to the RV. From their we just relaxed the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Saturday

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The next morning as some people were still waking up. Jaden, John, and I decided to walk on a dirt road leading out to Owen’s Lake. It was a very wide dirt road and it took some time to walk. We initially noticed there was some sort of structure out there in the middle, so that ended up being our goal. Upon arrival, it was a really nice kiosk describing how LA Department of Water Resources was restoring the area and decreasing the amount of dust blowing from the lake. The project has been ongoing for a couple decades and is now complete. As a result, there are trails around the lake to see. There was a couple pamphlets, so we took a couple back with us for future reference. Now it was time to hike back to the RV.

When we arrived, John said he was not feeling so great and needed to rest. Diana, Jaden and I decided to finish up that trail from yesterday. We didn’t find this arch that you could walk under, so we figured the other half of the trail must contain it. Driving slowly with the car we made it to the trailhead and started hiking. We saw a lizard along the way and some small cacti. As we passed by where we turned around, the arch came into view.

There were several people there getting their photos and trying to frame it with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. Some individuals had really name cameras for this effort. I helped them with a family photo and they took one of us. It was a small arch, but still neat to see. We continued down the trail to complete the loop.

The rest of the hike was pretty quick. We explored some large boulders that were behind the arch before making the last 5 minute hike back. We had to go down the ravine again and back up to the parking area. This time the trail looped in from the northwest, which was nice. Once complete we headed back to the RV to see how things were going with John and Glenda.

 

John was getting worse and needing more rest. After lunch Glenda took us to a museum where all the movies filmed in the area are show cased. Here we saw a movie about the old black & white western movies filmed here. Sci-fi and war based movies were also filmed in the Alabama Hills. I recognized a few of the movies in the short film. Afterwords, we explored the rest of the museum. Here a lot of old classic movies were showcased. The ones I recognized were more recent like Star Wars, Tremors, and Iron Man. Jaden found the cars and some of rooms you could walk into interesting. Since we arrived late, the place was closing. However we did see everything so it was perfect timing. Back to the RV we went for the rest of the evening.

Sunday

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Sunday morning came. Jaden and I were the first ones awake. I let him play on his iPad while I surfed online a bit. Eventually others awoke and it was time to make some breakfast. Jaden wanted to help Glenda, so down with the iPad and off to cooking.

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We were having waffles that morning, so Jaden and Glenda made the batter. He did a great job and enjoyed helping out. Soon we all sat down to eat and enjoyed one last meal together. Then it was time to pack up for us and make our way home. John was feeling a little better, but not enough to go out hiking anymore. At lunch we said our goodbyes and made our way back home. It was a fun time and a great way to make memories.

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