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June Lake Loop

Saturday, June 11

I part the slats of my blinds and peer out at the new day. The pine trees stand in ranks like dark sentinels under a gray sky.

Well, won’t be getting much in the way of solar power today so that nixes staying home and working on the computer. As it’s not suppose to be very rainy, a day trip is a viable option, and I know just the place. First though, I drive into Mammoth Lakes for laundry and essentials. Best to get chores done in the morning and have them out of the way.

Brand new machines at the laundromat in Mammoth Lakes

Brand new machines at the laundromat in Mammoth Lakes

Off of 395 just a couple miles north of camp is 158, called June Lake Loop. This road starts and ends at 395, it doesn’t go through to anywhere. But it’s a very scenic drive, passing by four lakes in the eastern Sierra.

June Lake is very pretty, surrounded by pine with mountains to the west and a Forest Service campground and beach to the east. Oh Ridge campground is $25 a night dry camping, but the loops are terraced on a hill so that many sites have a view of the lake, even those farther back from shore. On a sunny day, I imagine the water is that amazing blue particular to mountain lakes. Today it’s more of a slate, but still nice in a moody sort of way.

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The town of June Lake, CA is a cute little tourist destination, the main street lined with gift shops and restaurants. Despite it being a Saturday, it’s pretty quiet. The heat wave has broken with the clouds. Tomorrow is suppose to be quite miserable, rain all day with a high of 55.

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From town, I wander down to June Lake Marina, where several fisherman are casting from shore. It’s misting on and off, I wonder if the fish bite better for that. While I watch, the gentleman to the left of me gets a bite and reels in a fish. Not wanting to be rude I don’t get a picture, but it looks decent sized.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

A flock of ducks are hanging out by the docked boats. They swim closer to shore and eye me as I walk past, perhaps hoping for a handout.

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The road carries me past June Lake. Waterfalls dot the mountains above the road, flashes of white against gray stone. Spring and early summer is the best time for waterfalls out here, later in the summer the snow in the mountains has all melted and it’s much drier.

A FS sign advertises parking for Silver Lake, this must be lake #2. A path winds down through a dense stand of aspens, trunks ghostly white in the dim light. Purple flowers grow in the wet soil near the shore, a spot of color in an otherwise gray day.

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This lake seems to have a heavily forested shoreline, but a few breaks in the trees allow for fishing (and photo taking).

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

There’s a phenomenon I’ve become aware of, working in National Parks. If someone parks in a pullout in a scenic area, it becomes much more likely that a second car will follow, thinking that there must be some good reason the first car stopped there – an animal sighting perhaps, or a good place for a photo. The more cars in a pullout, the more attractive the location becomes for others.

I’m not immune to this phenomenon. In an open meadow of sage, four cars line the road in a pullout. Huh, what’s going on here? The gravitational pull of the four stopped cars reels Bertha in and I find myself joining them along the side of the road.

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There are no animals that I can see, but it is a pretty spot. A creek runs through the field and a large group of fishermen appear from the willow growing along the shore, tromping back to their cars. Ah, so that’s the reason.

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A sign for Aerie Crag is the next to catch my attention, this appears to have been a campground in the past but is now a day use area. Picnic tables line the parking lot, shadowed by a cliff of bare rock, crumbling and severe.

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Paths from the parking lot lead down to the creek, protected by trees and flowing strong. The sun peeks out from the clouds and glints on the rushing water.

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Trees become less numerous as I motor down 158. At Grant Lake Overlook I pull in to get a photo, but there doesn’t seem to be a lake to photograph. While water levels are down for all the lakes, Grant is in the worst shape. I drive a bit farther to the marina and finally find it. The marina buildings stand alone and forlorn well above the water line, a new dock has been built out on the lake bed.

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There must still be fish in it though. A few people are on the gravely beach, poles in hand. I wish them good luck silently as 158 ends back at 395.

* * *

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. pamelab on June 17, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Hi, Becky –
    Even on a gray day, you have found some pretty scenery to photograph. Thank you for your very nice blog. I really enjoy it.
    55 degrees and drizzle sounds so good right now. It has been in the mid to high 90s the last couple of days here, in the Houston area. I am actually SW of the downtown and it’s been very hot already. Thankful for less rain, because of all the flooding Texas has had in the last month or so.
    Happy Trails.

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Yeah Pamela, I know the weather in Texas hasn’t been the greatest and I wish you dry, cool days in the future, hehe.

      You’re welcome for the blog of course, thanks for following along!

  2. Judy Blinkenberg on June 17, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Love your posts and you do write so well. The pictures are wonderful! I get out maps to see your places. This post today has you about 2 hours from where I live up over hiway 88. We leave next week to pull a boat to Texas. I sure hope I can see some of your footsteps. Take care and come back soon.

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Thank you Judy, glad you’re enjoying both writing and pictures. If you travel past here on your way to Texas I’d definitely recommend stopping at some of the places along 395, it’s such a great drive. Have a good trip!

  3. Maria on June 17, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I also armchair travel with you, becky. I collect information from your posts about fulltiming in hopes of being better prepared for my dream of starting the life in the next 5 years. For now, I read some blogs and admire your courage to live authentically. I do wish you would write the name of the state you are in. I think you are on the west coast? It looks amazing!

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      I remember being where you are Maria, reading other’s blogs and dreaming of the day when I could go full-timing myself. I think it’s good you’re getting ideas now and I wish you all the best.

      As for the state, I do try to slip it into every travelogue post I write, but I’ll admit it’s not always the most obvious. In this post it’s in this line: “The town of June Lake, CA is a cute little tourist destination…” So yes, I’m on the west coast in California right now.

  4. Yvonne on June 17, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I love your writing too. So many sites are all video but I find the written word so soothing. I, too, travel vicariously through you. I hope the sun came out long enough to give you some solar power boost!! Happy travels!

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Yvonne. I had my solar panel in storage that day since rain will damage it (well not the panel itself, but the controller attached to it), but the sun did come out the next day and my battery is quite happy now. 🙂

  5. Scott Hinckley on June 17, 2016 at 2:39 am

    “I part the slats of my blinds and peer out at the new day. The pine trees stand in ranks like dark sentinels under a grey sky”.
    So beautifully written! Exactly why I so look forward to your posts. And, once again such beautifully captured images! In an instant you can transport me to moments beyond my imagination. Thanks so much for the opportunity to armchair travel!!

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      You’re very welcome Scott! I’ve found that writing travelogue style posts works best when treated like a story, explaining the setting so that the reader can see it in their mind. Maybe someday I’ll write a novel, I might not be half bad at it. Thanks for reading.

  6. Jeff on June 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Beautiful pictures with the clouds in the background from the June Lakes Loop. Thanks for the tip that Big Springs had spots open! Snagged site 1, most level of the 3 sites to pick from. Will be making the morning coffee with water from the spring :). Usable VZ signal. So wanted the boysenberry cobbler, but that just didn’t work out. Looking forward to your next posts of the area I thought I knew a bit about – you’re a great resource!

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Glad you got a spot Jeff! I did find that the phone signal was usable at all four campgrounds which was both surprising and nice. Sorry to hear about the cobbler, next time for sure. Enjoy that coffee. 😉

  7. Gina on June 16, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    FYI. Fisherman and women love to show off their catch especially if it is a decent size. My husband and I practice catch and release so frequently pictures are or only way of recording the “big” one. I would have loved to see what he caught.
    Great pictures. Look forward to your posts all the time.

    • Becky on June 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Yeah Gina, everyone I saw who caught something was releasing it too, sometimes the catching is more fun than the keeping and cleaning, haha. Not everyone likes to have their picture taken and put up on the internet for everyone to see though, just safer not to in my experience.

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