Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eastern Sierras: Rock Creek and Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop

Day three of our summer vacation this past August took us to one of our fav locations in the Eastern Sierras: Rock Creek. The Eastern Sierra is generally one of the less travelled areas in CA (compared to Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks), but not on this trip. We unfortunately took our sweet time getting out of the gate that morning from Bishop and didn't get up to the road end at Mosquito Flat trailhead until 10am. Too late...parking lot was completely full, and we were sandwiched between a bunch of cars trying to do the same thing we were attempting to do (i.e. park). So, we headed back down Rock Creek Rd., and eventually found a parking spot about a half mile down. I was winded from the elevation, so we decided to just lunch and hang around the immediate area rather than hike back up the road to the trailhead. Despite the traffic issues, we enjoyed our time along Rock Creek and saw more than enough wildflowers to make it so very worth the while.


8/16/11 Rock Creek Road.


Rock Creek Road.

Squaw Currant (Ribes cereum). South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground). 

Antelope Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata). South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).

Phlox species. South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).

Phlox species, about 1 mile before Mosquito Flat trailhead off of Rock Creek Rd.

8/16/11 Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum anrosaemifolium). South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).


South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground). Last time we brought Hana out here was in July of 2005 when she was 9 months old. 


8/16/11 South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).

Hana, staring at her own reflection. South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).


Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum). South Fork of Rock Creek (day use area across road from Palisade Campground).

False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina stellata). Day use area across road from Palisade Campground.


Linear-leaf Paintbrush (Castilleja linearifolia). Day use area across road from Palisade Campground.

Stansbury's Phox (Phlox stansburyi). Day use area across road from Palisade Campground.

Mountain Pennyroyal (Monardella glauca). Rock Creek Rd.

Mountain Pennyroyal (Monardella glauca). Rock Creek Rd.

Idaho Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium idahoense). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Road.

Idaho Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium idahoense). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Road.

Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia californica). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Road between Rock Creek Resort and Pine Camp.

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium). Rock Creek Rd.


Rock Creek Road.

Meadow Penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii). Rock Creek Road, between Rock Creek Resort and Pine Camp.

Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata). Rock Creek Road, between Rock Creek Resort and Pine Camp.



Bridge's Penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus). Rock Creek Road.

Nude Buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum). Rock Creek Road.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Rock Creek Road.


Paintbrush (Castilleja sp.). Rock Creek Road.

Sierra Angelica (Angelica lineariloba). Rock Creek Road.

Rock Creek.

Giant Red/Streamside Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). Rock Creek.

Swamp Onion (Allium validum). Rock Creek.

Sticky Cinquefoil (Potentilla glandulosa). Rock Creek.

Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum). Rock Creek.

Mountain Pride Penstemon (Penstemon newberryi). Rock Creek.

Pussy Toes (Antennaria media). Rock Creek. 

Rock Creek.

Rock Creek.

Female Boisduval's Blue? (Plebejus icarioides). Female can be all brown above or with varying amounts of blue. Rock Creek.

Female Boisduval's Blue? (Plebejus icarioides).

Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii). Rock Creek.



Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii). Rock Creek.

Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis). Rock Creek.

Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis). Rock Creek.

Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa). Rock Creek.


Timberline Phacelia (Phacelia hastata). Rock Creek.

Rock Creek Lake.

Sierra Rein Orchid (Platanthera leucostachys). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Road.

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Rd.

Kelley's Tiger Lily (Lilium kelleyanum). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Rd.


Sierra Gentian (Gentianopsis holopetala). Roadside seep off of Rock Creek Road.

Sierra Gentian (Gentianopsis holopetala).


Sierra Gentian (Gentianopsis holopetala).


Lupines & Paintbrushes in full bloom on a roadside seep off of Rock Creek Rd.

Sierra Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis). Rock Creek Road.

Prickly Poppy (Argemone munita). Lower elevation of Rock Creek Rd.

Bark of Jeffrey Pine. Lower elevation of Rock Creek Rd. enroute to junction with Hwy 395. It really does smell like vanilla and/or butterscotch!

Looks like a burn area, with lots of prickly poppies in bloom. Lower elevation of Rock Creek Rd.




The ubiquitous Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) growing at the base of a Jeffrey Pine. Lower elevation of Rock Creek Rd.

Hana & Gil checking under the canopy of a Jeffrey Pine. Rock Creek Rd.


View of Crowley Lake from Hwy 395N enroute to Mammoth Lakes. 


Junction of Hwy. 395 and 203 to Mammoth Lakes.


Pussypaws (Calyptridium umbellatum). Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop. 


After our sojourn to Rock Creek, we checked into the Sierra Nevada Lodge on Old Mammoth Rd. in Mammoth Lakes. It's got quite a history, especially with Hollywood of yore. Anyhoo, the rates are reasonable, the comforter is down (very comfy), and pets are allowed. Awesome! 


Gil & Hana, all tuckered out after the day's outings. 



7 comments:

  1. No wonder those two are exhausted. This is epic, I'll be back.

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  2. Karin, my 'agendas' on our summer vacations are frequently over ambitious, so Gil & Hana never fail to come back from our excursions totally pooped. They don't mind, though, as long as Gil has a TV to watch at the end of the day and Hana is surrounded by her fav squeeky toys.

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  3. Oh my. What a wonderful collection of scenes and wildflowers. A few familiar to me, most not. I'm in love with native orchids always, always beautiful. So many places to road trip and camp. The national forests are always among the very best....

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  4. Found my way here from Las Pilitas Nursery on Facebook this morning. Great road trip! It was also a trip down memory lane for me. I live in Maine now but am originally from California - we used to camp and hike in this area years ago. Wonderful pictures! It still looks as wild and beautiful as I remember.

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  5. Hope your recuperation is going well...

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  6. Holy Moley! What *didn't* you see?

    Love that native pennyroyal. (I think I planted some of that in my tiny urban garden.)

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  7. Hi All, and thanks for your comments! A rather belated reply from me, but I'm finally well enough after the surgery so that I can now sit at the computer a for at least an hour at a time and start getting back to the blogosphere and FB. Wishing everyone a happy new year!

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