Thursday, September 10, 2009

Walking Saddlebag Lake

Labor Day we arrived at the Carson Valley Inn RV Park where we spent two nights waiting for our arrival date down in Mono Lake. This park turned out to be just the ticket for a short term stay. It is located in Minden, NV which is just down the road from the Trader Joe's. The RV Park residents can use all of the facilities at the Inn including the pool and spa. Plus there are a couple of restaurants and a casino if you are so inclined. We happened to be there on a Tuesday which is the evening of the Minden farmers market. It was a small market but we were able to get fresh mixed lettuces, plums, and peaches. There were several vendors selling Hot Dogs, Brats, and even Chicken Pies. So we ordered a dog with a beer and listened to the music for a short spell.
On Wednesday we spent the morning doing the laundry and cleaning the inside of the rig before we started the 90 mile drive down to Lee Vining.
The Mono Vista RV Park has a strict check-in time of 1:00 p.m. and we did not want to arrive too early. The drive down 395 was absolutely beautiful with some of the trees turning colors already. We checked in and were pleasantly overwhelmed with the scent of the sage and the junipers. It had been too long since we had been here. We spent the afternoon and evening reminiscing about all the great times when we had camped here in the past number of years. Today we headed up Tioga Road to Saddlebag Lake with a picnic lunch and our cameras. Hwy 120 is a steep grade and we travelled up over 2000 ft in about 15 minutes turning off just before the entrance to the Yosemite National Park. The road is gravel and/or paved all the way to the lake as it parallels Lee Vining Creek. There were fishermen stationed all along the creek trying their luck. The weather was warm and sunny and we found a place along the creek to eat our lunch.

When we traveled further up the road we were treated to spectacular views of Saddlebag Lake. Fishermen and women were heading back to their vehicles with strings of trout. Yes, the sign at the right says that we are at 10,087 feet. This is one of the most accessible lakes in the Sierras and there are more lakes just beyond Saddlebag as well. There is a small cafe here at the lake which offers a water taxi service to get to the far side of Saddlebag. From there, you can walk on a series of trails around the other lakes, all easy walking and then you catch the water taxi back in the afternoon. The photo to the right shows some of the boats you can rent and the water taxi at the end of the dock. We are looking forward to coming back and taking the taxi and walking the lake loop trail.
As we headed back down the Tioga Road to Lee Vining we could see the Lee Vining Creek Canyon way down below us. Many years ago we used to camp in the forest service campground along that creek in a tent. Those were great memories but I do not think that I would want to give up our Montana for a tent any longer. What a great day and tonight will be the Steelers vs. the Titans, the football season opener.

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