Airstream Trip: Cherry Lake

From Four Jefferies (see here if you missed that adventure) T, Samson and I headed North to meet friends at Cherry Lake. We decided to cut through Yosemite and go up Tiago Pass. It was slow going in the Airstream but we made it to the top and entered Yosemite National Park.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I am a native Californian who had never visited Yosemite. Stunning is too weak of a word to describe what we saw as we crossed the upper north side of the park. The granite rock mountains, pine trees, and water were incredible and we didn't even make it to the valley where all the REALLY amazing stuff was. T and I looked at each other and said "we have to come back", "how have we missed this", "this place is amazing". Even "Yosemite Samson" (below) enjoyed the park and sat up in the truck looking around the whole time.

We arrived just outside Cherry Lake where we dry-camped with some friends of T's. For years these friends have been telling us about Cherry Lake and it finally worked out we could make it. They water ski and bring a boat. Most of the days involve hanging out at the lake water skiing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, or napping. Evening are spent around the campfire eating and laughing.

We spent three days at Cherry Lake and my body started to enjoy a slowed down version of life on this camping trip. Each day I found myself dozing at the lake in the sun, hiking with the group of dogs that belonged to the other campers, eating delicious food, and curling up for bed content and relaxed. It was a great trip and T and I were bummed to leave and head back to our grown-up lives. Here are a few pictures from the trip.
Base Camp

T making Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

Fishing and Hiking

Day dreaming at the lake

The drive home took us about 13 hours and there was a definite sense of loss as we sat in LA traffic. The Sierra Nevada had slowly seeped into our souls and we were sad to leave it behind. I have to remind myself sometimes how lucky I am to live in California. It is a place that takes my breath away again and again. And I'm sure it is only going to get better.


Airstream Trip: Eastern Sierra 2011

Playing catch up on the summer adventures:

July found T, Samson and I in the Eastern Sierra. We met friends at Four Jefferies Campground above Bishop and used it as base camp as we explored the surrounding area. Last year we were in the Eastern Sierra in June and the snow prevented us from taking certain hikes and then started melting and increased the flow of the streams and rivers and messed up the fishing. We still had a blast last year and didn't know what we were missing until this year. This year the weather was amazing. We hiked a ton and T caught fish everyday.

We met friends at Four Jefferies Campground and spent about a week exploring the surrounding area. One adventure was off-roading to a place called Coyote Flats. It was an all day adventure and the way up was slow going. I think I would have been white knuckling the steering wheel if I had been driving, but T took it easy and I didn't have to close my eyes.... very often. We saw deer and amazing wildflowers. Some of the vistas were incredible. Here are a few pictures:
Us taking a break up the hill.

Some of the wild flowers.

One of the Vistas.

My favorite hike/days was when T and I went with Steve and Chewy (the dog) on a hike to Lower Lamark and then on to the Wonder Lakes. Steve is the ranger we met last summer and when we ran into him again he told us he had a great hike we would love. He sold T on the fishing and we were up and off at 8am.

I should let you in on a little bit of my reality when it comes to hiking. Everyone hikes at their own pace. I am 5'6" and T is 6'4". We have different hiking paces. I would even bet he might think I am slow. Steve is closer to my height but he hikes just as fast as T. Moral of the story.... Sometimes it seems like I am hiking by myself. Steve is really good about taking breaks so I can keep up but I am not sure if T would be so good about stopping to wait for me....

Back to the hike! Lower Lamark Lake was our first stop on the way up. T had hiked up here last year with Steve but it had been covered with snow. No snow this time, just a gorgeous lake.

From Lower Lamark we headed to the Wonder Lakes. Steve said it was a "class I" trail which basically means it is a trial that is not maintained. He had told us there were seven Wonder Lakes and he had made it to five of them.

Now another confession. I have lived in California for almost my whole life and I am continually awestruck by how beautiful it is. When we left Lower Lamark I didn't think the "Wonder Lakes" were going to be much better but I was wrong. If I had thought about it at all I would have realized they weren't called the Wonder Lakes by accident. Each lake was more beautiful then the next. Some of them were small and some of them were bigger. They all feed into each other so they are close together and had waterfalls. The imposing Eastern Sierra are the dramatic back drop to each of these lakes.
Wonder Lake One

Wonder Lake Two

Wonder Lake Three

Wonder Lake Four

Steve and I left T to fish at Wonder Lake four and continued our way up to lake seven. When we were at Wonder Lake seven we realized there were two more lakes! The snow levels and time of day prevented us from going further. The hike down was beautiful and we met T at Wonder Lake four were he was laughing because he was catching so many fish!
Wonder Lake Five.

Steve yelling down to T at Wonder Lake Four. You can barely see him fishing off the point.

Crossing the Snow to get to Wonder Lake Seven.

Wonder Lake Seven.

Steve and Chewy hiking down.

After we picked up T we hiked back to Lower Lamark were T did some more fishing. Steve and I were the look outs and told T where to put his fly (he is a dry-fly fisherman). Again he kept catching fish! So different then last year.

The picture of the Wonder Lakes don't begin to do them justice. It was like seeing what heaven looks like.....minus the mosquitoes.

One of the people we were camping with was Dennis the fish whisperer. He works for fish and game and T and I met him last year through Steve and Vicki. The funny thing is that we realized early on that Dennis camps with really good friends of ours. Really good friends that we camp with too. Small world. So Dennis knew Steve and Vicki the camp host and ranger that befriended us last year AND our camping friends. For our camping trip this year we met up with one of our camping friends, Dennis the fish whisperer and Steve and Vicki. We were one big happy camping family.

One day T and the fish whisperer and I headed to Rock Creek Lake to do a little fishing. My grandmother had loved Rock Creek Lake and I wanted to check it out. We did a little hiking and the gentlemen fished, but we didn't get to explore as much as I would have liked to. Maybe next time.... Here are a few pictures from Rock Creek.

T looking for fish.

The last hike I did in the Eastern Sierra on this trip was to Long Lake. The fish whisperer, T and our friends hiked up there to do some fishing. I guess this was a popular trail because we passed a lot of people and there were a lot of people at Long Lake. The trail we were on leads to Bishop Pass and into the John Muir Wilderness. Again epic views and amazing weather. If this place wasn't under snow ten months out of the year I would never want to leave!
My first glimpse of Long Lake.

Waiting for the fish to bite.

The fishing crew.

T and I had a commitment to meet some friends in Cherry Lake (blog post coming soon) after we left the Eastern Sierra and he decided to try to get a hike and some fishing in the day before we left. Nobody else was up for the hike so T went alone to Treasure Lakes. Steve was planning on heading that direction later in the day so I wasn't worried. When T got back his shin was bloody and scraped up. It looked pretty bad. Turns out he was trying to get out to a rock to fish and slipped and fell. He said he didn't even feel his leg because he thought he broke his arm. Great. Fell. Alone. Broken arm? Turns out he didn't break his arm and he realized that when he finally stopped cussing because it was his casting arm and he continued to fish. Yep. continued to fish. Like any fisherman would do. Moral of the story... don't hike alone.

T and I left our friends at Four Jeffries and headed north to meet other friends at Cherry Lake on the other side of the Sierra. We planned to take the airstream over Tioga Pass and cross Yosemite for the first time. We were sad to leave but T said we would be back soon!


Review: Pizzaria Mozza, Newport Beach

It's 10pm on Labor Day and that means summer is officially over. I am still working on putting together some posts about a few camping adventures but my posts are turning into mini-novels and taking longer then I thought they would. I guess by posting them after Labor Day I am creating my own version of an Indian Summer...

For a quick post this week I thought I would review the newly opened Pizzaria Mozza in Newport Beach.

T wanted to go out to dinner tonight and decided we should try Pizzaria Mozza in Newport Beach. Originally started by Mario Batalli, Pizzaria Mozza was supposed to be amazing. Locals on Yelp were comparing it to Pizzaria Ortica and I was curios to see which one was my kind of place.

I will save you the suspense and let you know that T and I decided Pizzaria Ortica is more our style. We're kind of low key and hadn't made a reservation so we put our name in for a seat at the bar. The hostess told us it would be a 30-40 minute wait. We were on the fence at this point if we should stay, but decided to wait it out. An hour and a half later we were seated. As a former restaurant employee, I will say the hostess were very apologetic about the wait. As a former restaurant employee, I will also say you always overestimate the wait time. That way each customer is surprised and happy when they are called early, not angry and ready to go home like T was.

Our waitress was very pleasant an there seemed to be a crew of people working the floor. T and I were seated at the bar that overlooked the pizzas and wood burning oven. Nice little eye-candy for dinner. We each ordered a pizza with fennel sausage, mine with bacon and his with scallions. Both pizzas were good with the consistence of T's pizza crust being close to perfect. My pizza was called the "meat-lovers" and had a lot of grease that many the crust a little soggy. Oh well. For dessert we had a caramel something with salted peanuts. I personally thought the peanuts were too salty.

Was it good? Yes, and inventive dishes.

Was it worth an hour and a half wait?
We're not even sure it is worth a 40 minute wait.

This experience makes me want to go back and check out Pizzaria Ortica. I remember their food was good AND they have a much better selection of wine, and I love that combination... Happy eating!