After a few detours and getting sidetracked by life happenings, it is time to revisit my recent trip and detail day 2 of the adventure.
The morning was off to a later start and no 4AM anxiety was robbing me of any sleep. Coffee, breakfast and cleanup duties were shared as we started our day with a meal of sausage, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, a toasted bagel and cream cheese. A humble meal surrounded by a picturesque setting, it felt as though it was a meal for royalty. The senses were heightened and everything somehow seemed to taste better than ever before. The coffee was a pleasure all of it’s own, although there really wasn’t anything special about it, nor was it some fancy gourmet blend. Somehow it just tasted better that morning and I enjoyed it’s soothing and nurturing effects. In some strange way it felt as if I had coffee for the very first time, sitting there sipping the delicious juice and letting out the occasional sigh. The sierra is breathtaking and my eyes where fixed on the beautiful mountain scenery laid out in front of me. The snow was bright and glistening under the sun. Dancing, like tiny pieces of glitter, it was sparkling under the bluest of skies. Not one cloud was in sight and today would take us into T-shirt weather, two hours further south to one of my favorite places. The Alabama Hills.
Shortly after breakfast, we were on the road and heading towards Lone Pine, CA. It wasn’t long and we had only gone a few miles that I realized I had left my purse behind. The whole ordeal set us back by at least a half hour, but who cared, it wasn’t a big deal. We were free with no schedule that had to be kept. The concept of time vanished and no deadlines kept our mind occupied. With no place to be but plenty of places to go, we could go wherever we wanted to and stay as long as daylight would permit it. Simply amazing… the destination is always the journey.
The anticipation was building once we got closer and I could see the rock formations in the distance. Famous movies such as Iron Man and Transformers, besides older ones such as Gunga Din were filmed here in this unique and beautiful setting on Movie Road. It still makes me smile to think about the time we drove by accident through the movie set. Nobody stopped us, nor did we know about the filming or that we would find ourselves in the middle of the action. That part must have gotten edited as it lives on in our heads but never made the silver screen. I remember snapping pictures out of the car window and catching African American men with white war paint on their faces and their bodies. We had no idea what was being filmed and it took a long long time until we watched Transformers and recognized the painted men of the set we had driven through. It remains a funny subject to talk about, recalling the moments of that adventure. Memories of a lifetime and somehow it reminds me that it is always those moments that stand out and stay with us. The moments out of the ordinary and the moments that have something wild and crazy about them. Maybe even a bit of danger.
Finally, we reached the turnoff which would lead directly into a landscape so different, unique and unexpected, you might think you were on a different planet all together. A landscape from a futuristic land, beautiful and somehow so strange as if it didn’t belong. A relative short distance in either direction, it was encompassing a distinct difference that could be seen from far away, only to vanish as quickly as it appeared beyond it’s outskirts. I had visited many times before, but today we would push on further and explore the area deeper than ever before. The Jeep was perfect for this kind of terrain and I was looking forward to seeing parts that might had gone unnoticed before.
Movie road quickly turned into a dirt road that was pretty ruts-e in parts, shaking the Jeep violently and threatening to break it apart all together. The ruts forced us to slow down even more, maneuvering in between washed out parts of the road while constantly being on the lookout for smoother patches. I saw Möbius arch from the road but we didn’t stop and continued on further. Climbing and descending through this wonderland, we spotted a new arch in what appeared only a short hike from the road. I was first to scale it and took a seat directly underneath. With views for miles and miles it was truly breathtaking. Based on the shape we named this unknown arch “Wooly Mammoth Arch” and said our goodbyes after taking some pictures to commemorate the moment. Eventually the road was deteriorating to the point that we parked and set out by foot. A faint trail in the distance was climbing up to a ridge that would offer some spectacular views of the Alabama Hills, as well as Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14505 ft. I knew it would be the most breathtaking vista, but I also knew it would require a bit of work to get up there.