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Tag Archives: Bridgeport

Scenes From A Vacation

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Step.

Slip.

Slam.

Hiking the Lundy Canyon Trail by myself, a mile into it, I came upon this small waterfall. It feeds into a larger waterfall just below where I took this picture.

Hiking the Lundy Canyon Trail was a last minute decision and I wasn’t really into it. That first mile was pretty rough on my old, out of shape legs and lungs. I decided to call it quits here rather than trying to cross on those narrow trees. Particularly since I tore a groin muscle a few years ago, I’ve lost confidence in my stability when I do these things.

And did I mention I was by  myself. I get even more cautious. I got up to that point where the slender tree trunks cross and decided instead to just sit and enjoy the view and the sound of the rushing water. I turned to find a rock to sit on, took a couple of steps. One of those steps was on a rock I thought was flat.

Step.

Slip.

Slam.

I fell flat on my back on that “flat” rock. Good news was my backpack was between my back and the rock. Bad news was the pack had two full water bottles and my telephoto lens in it. Nothing soft to cushion the blow. My decision not to go further was settled. I found a rock to sit on and looked at the offending “flat” rock. Wow, how did I miss the slope on it?

The immediate pain went away and I wasn’t too worried about my back anymore. So, I sat and did what I had set out to do four days earlier. Relax.

The day before I had stopped at Convict Lake, a small lake a couple miles south of Mammoth Lakes where my family had vacationed for a few summers about 15 years ago. We would hang out together, eating, hiking, relaxing, playing Hand & Foot, and escaping nothing other than the daily drudgery of life at home. Our kids were much younger and they got to spend quality time with their cousins. Memories were created and for the few moments I spent there on Thursday, I could see them playing and laughing again.

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As I neared the spot where I took this picture, I noticed three young women. Two were on the path, one was in a small clearing. All I saw was her black thong underwear as she got up from her crouch and pulled up her shorts. They all giggled when they saw me and I wondered why she couldn’t use the bathroom that was less than 50 feet away.

My plan was to kayak Convict Lake for a couple of hours. The wind spoiled my plans. There was no kayaking Convict Lake that day. Instead I drove around and saw June Lake and Silver Lake and Grant Lake. At Silver Lake, I stopped and spent a few moments with a friend’s parents. Mike is 91. Pat, in her 70s. They still go up to Silver Lake every summer for three months. Did I mention he’s 91? Mike was born in Singapore and was a child when he was put in an internment camp by the Japanese. There’s a story to tell there.

Without much activity Thursday, I decided to do that Lundy Canyon hike. I only hoped I would be able to get through the mile back to my car. The pain went away so I thought I’d be fine. I was. After sitting for a bit, I started down. I could feel a little ache in my back where it hit, but things were fine.

* * * * *

A couple of months ago, I came to a realization. I needed some time to myself. No, not the Sunday afternoons I frequently have to myself. No, not a solo hike every now and then. And not the short runs I take these days on most weekend mornings. I needed something more real. I needed a few days to myself.

Various stressors had built up and I just needed a few days where the only person I had to care about was myself. Four days in the eastern Sierra Nevada. The missus was fine with it, although expressed a half-serious reservation about my initial destination. Bridgeport, California. Where, according to her, “bad things happen.”

Yeah, bad things happen to Jack McGee. But he’s fictional and so are his problems.

IMG_9615The town of Bridgeport was getting ready for its 4th of July extravaganza. When I got there on Tuesday, bunting and banners and all things red, white and blue were getting hung from every available location.

The extravaganza is a six-day affair. It’s one of the cool things about small town America. I’m not a huge fan of ostentatious patriotism, but the way small towns do this event just feels right.

It’s been awhile since I’d been to Bridgeport and there were some things in the vicinity I had never done before. Like hiking.

No, I don’t fish.

No, I don’t hunt.

I like to hike and get back to places you can only see if you hike. Like Barney Lake.

 

I was also going to … relax, take my time, enjoy myself. I had four days, more or less, to just do what I wanted to do. Twin Lakes is thirteen miles west of Bridgeport. The trailhead for the Barney Lake Trail is at the back of Twin Lakes. You have to go hunting for it. From the trailhead, the hike is about 4.5 miles with a little over 1,200 feet in elevation gain and when you get to the end, here is the view.

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This is why I hike. By the time I got here, I was done for. The last mile is a relentless switchback that felt like it went on and on. I was ready to take a break, eat a little bit of food. And, yes, relax. Take it slow. Take it easy. Enjoy the view. I had nothing else planned for the day.

I lasted for less than five minutes. The bugs were absolutely relentless and I couldn’t escape them. Back down the hill I went.

Convict Lake, where outlaws escaped to in the 1800s, was my Thursday stop. Most of those outlaws were eventually caught, but one or two escaped for good. These are the kinds of stories I love about the random places that fill our world. The ghost town of Bodie, just down the road from Bridgeport has many more stories.

Mono Lake, a lake that is saltier than the ocean and which was almost destroyed because decades ago, the city of Los Angeles diverted the fresh water streams that feed into the lake. The entire story of the Owens Valley, which suffered the same fate. Around every bend, there seems to be another story.

But I couldn’t kayak at Convict Lake and I had a whole day with nothing planned. So, I drove the June Lake Loop and then went to Mono Lake for some picture taking. I was relaxing, taking my time. Taking it easy.

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About 25 years ago, a state agency ordered the restoration of Mono Lake. The diversion of water from the lake ended. The order established a target level of the lake. To date, the lake has not been able to return to that level due to varying levels of precipitation each year. After the drought that hit California a couple of years ago, the level dropped almost to where it was 25 years ago, but it has started to come back again. I asked a volunteer at the lake if they had any idea how long it would take. His response, “Well, I’m 71 and I hope to see it.” I hope he does too.

So many stories.

I wasn’t at Mono Lake for very long before the memory card in my camera filled up. The thing has enough space for thousands of pictures, but I found a pizza place in Mammoth and sat for awhile deleting hundreds of pictures from the thing. When my kids played soccer, I took a lot of pictures of them and their teammates. I could take 200 – 300 pictures a game. I’ve never done much with those pictures. Shared them with the parents and then nothing. It was time to delete the pictures of other people’s kids. I wondered what those kids were doing now and hoped their own stories were going well.

And I relaxed. Had some pizza, a couple of beers, and did my thing.

Which is the backstory to Lundy Canyon Trail. Why I was out there by myself. Why I was on that particular trail.

Step.

Slip.

Slam.

I’m fine. No, really I am.

My back didn’t hurt, I didn’t feel much of an after effect. I went and had lunch at a place several people told me I needed to try. It’s at a Mobil Mini-Mart in Lee Vining, which is situated right next to Mono Lake, offering incredible views of the lake, and at the junction for the road that takes you over the Tioga Pass and into Yosemite. But a Mini-Mart? Yes. A Mini-Mart where the Whoa Nellie Deli is situated. A gourmet chef serving up quality food in the back corner of a Mobil Mini-Mart.

So many stories.

By the end of lunch though, my back was starting to bother me. It felt like a knot was forming there, right in the middle of my spine. I got a bag of ice and leaned back against it off and on as I drove back to Bridgeport for One Last Night in Bridgeport.  🙂

Back at the Bridgeport Inn, more ice and then I was off to Big Meadows Brewing — a brand new craft brewer that had just opened the week before. I sat and did my thing. I relaxed. Finished chapter 7 of The Jump — an ongoing effort during my four days away. Had a beer.

And so my time was done. I drove home yesterday. Went for a short run today. My back is fine. No, really, it is. Here are a few more pictures.

Along the Lundy Canyon Trail

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The Bridgeport Reservoir with the Sierra Nevadas.

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Along the Barney Lake Trail.

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A Moment

If I believed in God, and a place called God’s Country, this just might be it.  Bridgeport Valley, between the Bodie Hills to the east and the Sierra Nevada to the west.  It’s just one of those perfect spots.  Rumor has it a classic legal thriller was based here as well.

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A Peek Inside

Driving around town today with the youngest of Princely Midgets, I saw an Adopt-A-Highway sign.  It was sponsored by the First Atheist Church of True Science aka FACTS.  Hmmm.  An Atheist Church.  This requires further inquiry.

First, I needed to research the definition of church.  “A building for public especially Christian worship.”  That’s the primary definition.  The secondary definitions equally apply to worship, clergy, and the like.  Which, of course, leads me to the ultimate question.  How can atheists have a church?

I’m one.  A fire-breathing, devil-worshipping atheist.  To me, at least, besides the lack of belief in a god or a supreme being that created our world, being an atheist also means the absence of any belief.  It’s the absence of the need for rituals or of symbols.  Yet, FACTS website identifies symbols to reflect their beliefs, created rituals to reflect important matters.  There are sermons.  I realize that much of this website may be somewhat tongue and cheek and rather than trying to establish an atheistic religion is really a sarcastic way to critique real religions, but … stop calling yourself a church.

* * *

As near as I can tell, at my peak yesterday, One Night in Bridgeport hit #338 on the rankings for all books on Amazon yesterday.  Over 400 Kindle downloads yesterday.  Another 60+ today, shortly before 5:00 p.m.  I’d love it if these downloads were at a more “legitimate” price.  Established authors and those who are lucky enough to have a publishing contract are able to charge almost full price for downloads.  As a reader, and as a writer who has now self-published and knows a little more about the costs of a hard copy paperback, I’m offended that they’re not discounting downloads.  We shouldn’t have to pay $9.99 or $10.99 or more for a download.   That said, there’s some price between there and .99 that is legitimate and reasonable to ask.  The problem is when it’s little ol’ me and I don’t have a publisher behind me, when there’s no marketing budget, when there’s no reviews in the NY Times or from Publisher’s Weekly, and when the reader has never heard of me, it’s perfectly understandable that the reader won’t buy for anything more than .99.  Why take a chance?

* * *

More on this later, but, Poetry Month in April, opened me up to a larger supporting cast of bloggers who write and read and support the efforts of those who do.  I’m talking about you Sahm King and Ranting Papizilla.  And Kira and Basket.  And others who I don’t have on the tip of my tongue, but you’re there nonetheless.  You get added to others like Carrie Rubin and Olivia O’Bryon.  It’s an on-line support group as we all traipse down the path of writing.  It’s huge.  And, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

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