I woke well before dawn, made coffee and dressed in warm layers. After calling Iain's room to be certain he was awake and would be ready to go I rechecked my directions to the Bonsai Tree Rock. Well... I didn't check them well enough. We made it to Sand Harbor and were pretty certain we were NEAR the proper location but we could not for the life of us find the darn rock. The park was closed and wouldn't open until 8AM according to the sign... BUT, someone left the exit gate open so we snuck in and parked. After walking the entire trail and not finding the rock I settled for a few compositions of the jumbled rocks and drift wood near the sandy beach.
From there we drove through Carson City, Nevada and back into California with the Sierra Mountains keeping pace to our right. It snowed lightly thoughout the day and my plan was to spend the afternoon photographing in Lee Vining along the end of Mono Lake. I love the Tufa formations and leap at any opportunity to explore the area that I can get... however... there is another area near Lee Vining that I love and have been dieing to explore with a little bit of snow...
Bodie Ghost Town: A town built on gold. In 1859, William Bodey discovered gold and shortly after established a mine. In a short period of time the town grew from 20 miners to over 10,000 people. It was a lair of villany and ill-repute with over 65 saloons and various opium dens and brothells. A young girl who moved from San Francisco with her family is quoted as saying "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie." While much of the town was destroyed by various fires, a large portion remains under the careful eye of the California State Park system. It is in a state of "arrested decay". I've visited in the summer but have always wanted to explore when the ground was covered in snow... when there would be no foot prints or worn trails to be seen. The road closed sign was up but we were able to drive past with ease. I was very nervous when we hit the dirt road. The day was warm and I knew the snow was melting... the last thing I wanted was to get the car stuck... towing companies refuse to come out to the area. Luck was on our side... the ranger had recently driven the road out and we had a nice hard pack track to follow. In no time at all I found myself in front of my favorite old car... presteen snow surrounding it. Heaven!
Before I knew it three hours had past. I had lost Iain somewhere between the old church and the pool hall. I finally located him again (No, not frozen in a snow bank) he was snapping away at the items left in the general store. I gave him a 20 minute wheels up time and headed to the car. Along the way I found even more treasures. 40 minutes later I made it back to the car, shortly after that Iain arrived and we headed on to Mono Lake.
The clouds had moved in and it was snowing pretty well with no real hope of a desent sunset and so we pushed past Mono Lake. As luck would have it, we drove beyond the storm and found a lovely mountain range about 30 miles North of Bishop. As we watched the Alpine glow creep across the mountain I realized that the moon was rising immediately behind the mountains! We couldn't have planned it better if we tried!
And now - off to sleep! Tomorrow we try for a nice sunrise over Mount Whitney. Who knows what unexpected things we'll run into instead!