Home » 2021 California Surf and Turf

Bishop, CA

Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 8:30pm by Lolo
45 miles and 1 hour from our last stop - 5 night stay


Day 1 - Arrival in Bishop

We arrived purposely after 5:00, so they could finish their work day without us distracting them. They made a nice dinner for us and we spent the night chatting and catching up. Oh, and lots of long overdue hugging.

Day 2 - Herb and I entertaining ourselves while they worked

Herb running along the Bishop Creek CanalHerb running along the Bishop Creek CanalI managed to convince Herb to go with me for a run along the Bishop Creek Canal which is just a short distance from Andrew’s house. In my opinion, it’s the perfect running trail - flat, nice dirt surface, and unbelievable views. We ran 5 miles out and back, having to occasionally wait for cows to get out of the way.

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, loading thousands of photos to our laptops, and food shopping.

That night friends of theirs came over to join us for a BBQ. They have met so many really interesting and like-minded people that any fears I had of them being lonely and missing their friends in SF were put to rest.

Day 3 - Off-road motorcycling and bouldering in the Buttermilks

Off-roading on the Bishop trailsOff-roading on the Bishop trailsSince they moved to Bishop, both Andrew and Celeste have bought off-road motorcycles to enjoy the hundreds of miles of off-road trails in the area. Herb has ridden motorcycles for years, but almost exclusively on asphalt, so Andrew wanted to give him an opportunity to do some off-roading with him.

Andrew and Herb set off from the house on the motorcycles, and Andrew took him on some of his favorite trails before heading over to the Buttermilks to meet up with Celeste and I, who would drive over with the truck. Herb had a blast. Not sure if he is ready to buy an off-road bike yet, but it certainly will be fun to borrow one when we visit.

We all met at the parking for the bouldering area and entered the second phase of the day - bouldering.

First, a very brief primer on bouldering. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does not use ropes because it is done on “boulders” that are not too high. To protect from injury, crash pads are placed on the ground to soften the climber’s fall. In addition to the pads, other climbers stand at the bottom with arms extended upward to catch or slow the climber down if he falls. However, in the Buttermilks, the boulders are pretty darn big, some as high as 45 feet.

Andrew bouldering in the ButtermilksAndrew bouldering in the ButtermilksBouldering is not Herb and my thing, so for this portion of the day, we would just be spectators - not a bad thing as the landscape is amazing, with hundreds of huge boulders (or more technically, glacial erratics) strewn across a vast hillside with the snow-capped Sierra in the background.

After doing that for awhile, we moved into phase 3 (their lifestyle is exhausting), in which Andrew and now Celeste would ride the motorcycles and Herb and I would follow them in the truck. Herb said that the roads they went on into the Foothills of the Sierra were a lot rougher than what Andrew had taken him on. I can’t believe how good Celeste has gotten on that bike in such a short time.

Finally it was time for Phase 4 - cocktail hour and dinner at the Mountain Rambler, finally an event I could participate in.

Day 4 - Sport climbing in Pine Creek Canyon and 4WDing to the Warm Springs

Celeste sport climbing in Pine CreekCeleste sport climbing in Pine CreekToday we would tag along with the kids to watch them sport climb in Pine Creek Canyon, a stunningly beautiful canyon nestled between Mount Tom and the Wheeler Crest, less than a half hour from their house.

This is just one of the many climbing areas near Bishop. It alone has over 630 routes, including multi-pitch trad climbs and one of the largest collections of sport climbs in the state. Just the hike into the canyon itself was worth the trip, even if I personally didn’t get to climb. I just love the beautiful scenery and watching them do what they love.

They usually try to get Herb and I on a climb that is less difficult than what they do, but neither of us had climbed in almost a year and a half because the climbing gyms had been closed because of Covid. I declined, but they did get Herb, who has climbed a lot in his life, to agree to give it a shot.

As must be done in sport climbing, somebody (Celeste in this case) has to lead the climb and set up a top rope on top for the rest of us to use. Herb managed to enjoy the climb. He was surprised that he had not lost that much strength during the hiatus, but did say he had very little endurance.

After watching them climb a few more climbs, we left while they joined some of their friends. Before going back to the house, Herb and I decided to take a 4WD trip back by the canal behind their house to try to find the Warm Springs, where another species of pupfish lives. We were really into pupfish this trip. This would be our third species - kind of like collecting Pokemon cards.

It was a very bumpy, sandy, and longer than we expected drive, but we finally found two very pretty small ponds that did have pupfish in it. It also had a family in it as well. They told us that the pupfish liked to nibble on people. Eww!!!

Day 5 - Andrew and Celeste work and we hike the Druid Stones Loop

Lolo of the Druid StonesLolo of the Druid StonesOur last full day in Bishop. The kids had to work (they are so jealous of us retirees), so we went off on our own for the day.

We decided to hike the Druid Stones Loop, a hike popular with locals both for hiking as well as bouldering on the stones. We had been up to the stones once before to watch them climb. This time we planned to continue on past the stones and do the entire loop.

The trailhead was only 10 minutes from their house. There were a few cars in the parking lot along Bir Road, but since we had a 4WD with high clearance we were able to drive in another quarter mile to a closer parking area.

The trail starts strong with about a mile of switchbacks up a steep slope, climbing about 1,700 feet in a little under 2 miles. At a fork we took a left and continued for another quarter mile or so until we came to a distinct boulder field on the left with one prominent one sticking up above the rest. This is the Druid Stone. Actually I thought they were all collectively called the Druid Stones, but in any case, they all had Celtic-themed names. This is where we had been a few years back to watch them climb.

Hiking down from the DruidsHiking down from the DruidsFrom here there was a great view of Bishop and the Owens Valley, the White Mountains to the east, and the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west.

Rather than go back down, we added on the almost 3-mile loop. I confess that we got a bit lost in the beginning of the loop because we wandered too far into the Druid Stones, but a leprechaun led us back to the trail.

This was definitely our day for getting lost, because once we hiked the switchbacks back to our car, we thought it was a no-brainer to get back to Bir Road. Well, we must not have been paying attention because we drove for a lot more than a quarter mile on dirt roads.

One of the more interesting graves at the Paiute CemeteryOne of the more interesting graves at the Paiute CemeteryEventually we came out to a Native American cemetery called Sunland. It was different from any cemetery I had ever been to, perhaps with the exception of Baja. It was so personalized, with photos and objects important to the deceased laid atop the graves, which by the way were not below ground level but a raised mound. It was upsetting to see how many young people there were.

However, the one that made us smile was that of “Buz” Rogers who had a funnel at the foot of his grave with a sign above it. reading, “Dying of Thirst, Pour Bud Here.” I am not sure if I am proud or embarrassed to admit it, but Herb did have a Bud in the truck refrigerator, which he did retrieve and pour down Buz’s funnel.

Hiking up to the DruidsAnother wonderful home-cooked meal back at the ranch on our last night in Bishop.

Bishop location map in "high definition"

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