This March, I got to host a Shoestring Adventures Weekend Trip in the Alabama Hills with Jaymie Shearer of Mug Life Project. We were joined by some special guests, including my Auntie Ann and my good friends Ari and Michael.
Located in Lone Pine, CA under the shadow of Mount Whitney on the Eastern Sierras, the Alabama Hills have been featured in hundreds of Hollywood films, from old westerns to sci-fi classics. This happens to be one of Jaymie’s favorite places in California, and now it’s one of mine too.
On Friday evening, we set up camp and enjoyed bbq pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, while we watched the sun set over the snow-capped peaks.
On Saturday morning, we hiked the Arches Trail, a 2-mi loop to the famous Mobius Arch. We discovered many more arches as we climbed to the highest point, in search of a shady lunch spot. I marveled at the rounded contours of the Alabamas against the sharp ridges of the Sierras and reminisced about standing on the summit of Whitney nearly 1 year ago.
After lunch, we made a spontaneous side trip to some hot springs near Bishop. While we relaxed in the pools, we decided on one more adventure before turning back.
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains is home to the oldest recorded living things on earth. Surprisingly, the 4,000 year old pines are not necessarily the tallest. With their broad trunks and gnarled branches, they have adapted to grow in poor nutrient soil and to withstand harsh wind conditions.
Since the road leading to the pine forest was closed for winter, we parked and hiked the last 2-miles to the visitor center. We explored the forest until the sun began to set, bathing us in golden light on our hike back to the car.
When we returned to our campsite, we inhaled tacos and toasted s’mores. The campfire brought warmth back to our bones, which had escaped with the wind of the ancient forest.
On Sunday morning, we woke up for the sunrise and broke down camp and set off on one last adventure.
Auntie Ann told me about a hike near our campground to a stone building called “The Ashram.” It was erected in the early 1900’s by Franklin and Sherifa Wolff as a non-denominational spiritual school.
After a short off-road journey, we reached a dead end with a trail marker. Ari spotted the Ashram peaking out of the trees above. We hiked about 1-mile up the canyon, along the staggering granite cliffs, and across a rushing creek. We explored the building, and I took a moment to mediate before heading down and bringing our weekend to a close.
After our weekend in the Eastern Sierras, I find myself longing to return. I am enchanted by her granite peaks, ancient pines, boiling springs and smooth rock formations. We have so much more to explore!
Special thanks to Jaymie, Auntie Ann, Ari and Michael for joining me on this weekend adventure!