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Eastern Sierra Trip 2009

Day 3 of 10

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Sunday, June 28th
Drive to Big Pine Creek Campground

We enjoyed our stay at the Swall Institute, finally leaving around noon. We drove south along 395, stopping briefly in Bishop where it was a sweltering 98 degrees. We continued south to Big Pine, turned right onto Crocker Avenue, which turns into Glacier Lodge Road, climbing thousands of feet up to Big Pine Creek campground, about 7600 feet elevation. Here, it was still 82 degrees when we arrived just before 1:30pm.

I'd made reservations for Big Pine Creek campground just 3 1/2 weeks ago. It has 30 sites for tents and RV's, situated next to Big Pine Creek. I'd reserved site 18. When I made the reservation, little did I know that it was separated from most of the rest of the campground by a small hill. This had the disadvantage of requiring a walk up to the restroom. But it had the advantage of added privacy. Only sites 16 and 17 share the somewhat private road, and site 16 was empty the entire time we were there. It's not completely private, however, as there's a trailhead nearby that leads to a short trail along the creek. So there were a few people who walked by during the day to access the trail. At night, though, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Oh, if you're going after privacy, site 17 is probably the most private of all, having only site 18 as a distant neighbor.

After lunch we stopped by the tiny Glacier Lodge store (next to the campground), where I picked up a map. There are a few snacks and ice for sale here, but not much else. The main lodge burned down in 1998, and the store looks like it occupies one of the old cabins, several of which are still available for rent if you are not up for camping.

Next, we went for a short walk on the trail next to Big Pine Creek. We saw butterflies and wildflowers, then found a small spot amongst the trees next to the fast-flowing creek to rest from the afternoon heat. If you want, you can walk the entire trail about 1/2 mile down to the next campground.

Big Pine Creek

Big Pine Creek

We returned to camp and had dinner, after which we saw lots of people heading down to the creek to go fishing. Not sure if they caught much. We stayed in our camp, having a campfire (wood is for sale from the campground host) and s'mores. It was quite warm still, so this was one of the rare times when we slept without the rain fly on the tent. This was a good thing, since the space for our tent was so small that we couldn't really put the rain fly on even if we wanted to, at least not with the vestibule. So if you have a large tent, that's something to keep in mind.


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