One of the joys of traveling by car is that you can leave the main route at any time and arrive in a totally different world. This was the case last Friday on the drive home from Southern California. Although we have been down this road before (about 50 trips too many) there is a great deal of beauty and history that is waiting to be told.
The Alabama Hills can be reached from highway 395 in the town of Lone Pine which is south of Bishop, CA. Just take the Whitney Portal Road towards the Sierras and within a mile or so you are taken back to the days of the John Wayne Western movies. Many a film crew frequented these hills because of its rugged rural settings. With the unique rock formations you can almost envision the cowboys and Indians in those old Western movies.
We only drove in a few miles (we were on a schedule) but the vistas were incredible and I would say it would warrant another trip to the area to explore the trail further. The road meanders about 13 miles to the start of a walking/hiking trail which climbs to the highest summit elevation of 14,505. I don't think the complete hike is on my "bucket list" but maybe it's on yours!
The only other time we were subjected to that kind of elevation was when we went to the top of Pikes Peak via the cog railway near Colorado Springs, CO. The elevation was a mere 14,110. Along the way we saw herds of bighorn sheep and majestic views. When we reached the top we decided to visit the snack bar and purchased some greasy donuts. As a rule, visitors are only allowed 30-40 minutes at the peak before they need to return. The reasoning behind this is due to frequent bouts of altitude sickness! Of course, that fell on deaf ears but we began to wonder when we all started to feel nauseous on the descent part of our journey.
So the moral of this story is:
1. Always get off that beaten path for the beauty. You won't regret it.
2. Don't eat the donuts over 14,000 ft. You will regret it
Disclaimer: The mention of donuts qualifies this still as a food blog. It just needed to be shaken up!