I had found a little dirt road turnoff that went for quite a ways paralleling the river,too had plenty of shade and room for a tent. Lindsey and I pulled into the perfect spot to camp and Marley couldn’t wait to get out to explore. We set up our tent and unloaded a few of our things to make the night a bit more like home. Marley couldn’t wait to explore and I couldn’t wait to set up my fishing reel and see if I could get us some dinner.We headed down to the river that was flowing pretty good for this time of year, runoff from the nearby glacier. After a few minutes finding a good pool to fish in I was able to pull out a small Trout,first one in a good many years for me. Being in places like this is the most relaxing thing I can do and always brings good memories of my father and I.
By this time it was well into the evening so Lindsey and I set up our chairs and enjoyed the spectacular sunset that almost set the sky on fire.
We all slept very well with the peaceful roar of the river in the background and the cool night breeze that swept through the canyon. The next morning we awoke and decided we would go for a little hike before it got to hot. The spot we were camping had a few trails that looked very inviting that climbed steep up into a rocky gorge. Lindsey loves geology and as a hobby enjoys looking for rocks and excavating them,this place was full of all sorts.
Found what looked to me to be an old well that someone turned into a plinking target,neat bunch of parts hanging from it.The sun was starting to come down on us pretty hard so we decided to head back to camp and hang by the river before we packed up and left.
Lindsey and I loaded up the truck and headed back down the long mountain road where we met the main highway continuing North up to Lake Crowley. This area gives a very wild west feel to it as far as the trees and rock outcroppings that are scattered throughout this magnificent land. We both were rubbernecking some spots that looked promising but we still ventured further to the lake that my friend had claimed to be a spectacular place to fish.As we got closer to the lakes entrance I could see that the water level had gone down a bit but still looked plentiful for some fishing. The man we encountered at the guard house greeted us and was most helpful with finding us a good location to camp. I had stated that I was in need of a place as far away from people as possible as I have a phobia of camping next to strangers. He sent us to a really nice spot that overlooked the rivers inlet into the lake.
Lindsey and I set up our camp and soon headed down to the lake where I did a bit more fishing accompanied by Marley. Well Marley loves the water so I soon realized that fishing may be out of the question as she was having a good old time swimming around. We cooked a few steaks and potatoes that filled our stomachs as we enjoyed the crystal clear night sky. I knew that we were going to have to pack up early the next morning because the place we were camping had no shade and was going to be into the 100s again. The next morning we woke up at 8:00am and slowly started packing the truck up with all our supplies to move on to our next spot. The lake was beautiful but honestly just to hot for us to really enjoy with no shade to shelter us. I had decided to backtrack and head back down near Big Pine area near a glacier where I had been told was beautiful and much cooler camping weather. As we drove another 45min back I noticed my truck was starting to have some vibration,was hoping to get into Bishop to check out the problem. Well not to long after that my transmission was gone,like it had gone into neutral. I ended up coasting onto the shoulder right next to a highway patrolman who was kind enough to call me a tow into Bishop. Today was Sunday and like most small towns everything was closed,we were stuck until Monday morning and most likely longer. The towtruck driver gave us a recommendation to a motel we could stay at that would have no problem with us having a dog and too was very reasonable. We walked a few blocks carrying a few of our bags and some important things I didn’t want to leave in a strange place. I was a bit worried and somewhat embarrassed as this was the first big vacation I had taken my girlfriend on and now this happened. Lindsey was most supportive and handling the whole thing way better than I had anticipated. The next morning I talked to the automotive mechanic and he said indeed I needed a new transmission that would take 4 or 5 days to get to as he was busy. I decided to rent a car and get Lindsey and Marley home as we had already enjoyed a few good days of camping. We drove 300miles home and immediately put my truck on Craigslist and started looking for something new and more accommodating to camping and off-road driving. I spent a few days at home before returning the rental car to Bishop where SteveO was kind enough to pick me up with all the rest of my camping stuff. SteveO arrived and we loaded all my things into his new AWD Subaru where we had planned to finish off the trip with some hunting over the following day. The area we had chosen to camp was about 20 minutes out of town several miles down a rugged dirt road.
Nice little creek that did have some trout swimming around.
SteveO and I hiked around for awhile after we set up our camp and had decided to go hunting early the next morning for Cottontails and Jackrabbits.
That night I made some hotdog sandwiches that really hit the spot after a long day of being on the road. The next morning we got up real early and set out across the creek where we hoped to get a few Cottontails that may be active around the rocky hillsides. I was able to make a solid hit on one at 40 yards almost as soon as we crossed the creek. Had some difficult time recovering it as it had made its way into some thick brush where it died.
SteveO and I wandered for about and hour up and down the hillsides even being able to take a few ground squirrels on the nearby rocks. As we made our way up over a steep hill I was able to make a hit on a Jackrabbit at 90 or so yards. I tracked the blood trail down into a deep ravine that was some challenge to get in and out of. Good size healthy looking Jack that really made me work for the kill in not stopping and making me lead the shot ahead.
It was getting hot so SteveO and I decided to pack it up and go explore some other areas and to try out his brand new AWD wagon,pretty cool little car and very capable on rough roads. We headed several hours deep into Jackrabbit country to an area I had not been familiar with at all. The long fire road went for miles and miles and weaved through the high desert into some very unforgiving terrain.
We ended up arriving to this spot that was loaded with ground squirrels and looked to be a great spot to spend a good portion of the day.
The place was very near a similar location we had hunted years before but this place looked untouched by hunters. SteveO and I tried to stay close to the vehicle and to the shade of the Oak trees and it was up over 100 degrees out. We had both been trying to stay as hydrated as possible but still a few times I was feeling lightheaded. Areas like this can kill a man easily if enough water is not consumed and heat exhaustion starts taking its toll.We took our time and made our way to a spot under some Oak trees where we sat and waited for the Ground Squirrels to come out.
After a few minutes we were both getting shots on quite a few of them,place was very active for this time of year. I got several that were crawling around a fallen log at 30 yards.
Over the next hour we had gotten 12 or so kills,some being found hiding up in the trees trying to stay cool.
SteveO and I packed up his wagon and we decided to head back towards our usual Jackrabbit spot where we had hoped to have some more luck before heading home.On the way out I couldn’t help to think about how difficult this journey would have been on horseback with the extreme desert conditions,made me very grateful for air conditioning. We soon arrived that afternoon to our most frequented spot that always has a good supply of Jackrabbits to hunt along with a little shade from the Joshua trees. We walked our usual route and soon I was able to get a kill at 45 yards on a Jackrabbit that was laying under the shade side of a large Joshua tree.
Not to long after SteveO was able to take this good size Jack with his .25 Marauder,first one he had gotten in three years. The guy is a great hunter and was happy to get to witness the great occasion.
We trotted around the hot desert for about another hour making shots on quite a few,managed to get one more at 65 yards to the head.
SteveO and I were both more than satisfied with our very successful hunting day and headed back to the air conditioned car where we continued our trip back to my house. Despite all the trouble I had with my truck breaking down the week had turned out to e really good,so grateful to have so much support from everyone. We arrived home all in one piece and with memories of adventure that will stay with us forever. The following day a fellow airgunner Terry picked up Lindsey and I and drove us several hours to pick up our new Jeep/hunting/Camping rig.
This sport has given me so much and I can only wish that others find what I have found. In the next few months I plan on doing a few different types of hunts and will as usual try documenting my adventures the best I can. Till then, shoot straight!!