Basecamp: Indy

We’ve been unintentionally staying at all the little towns which line California Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras. Over the Martin Luther King holiday, we adopted Independence as our temporary home, a town which has been around since 1861. As always, our basic MO will be wandering, exploring and maximizing fun.

In an effort to kill time before hotel check-in time, we stopped by the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery. When construction was completed in 1917, it was the largest and best equipped hatchery in California and could produce 2,000,000 fish fry per year. Unfortunately were were visiting during a time of year when tours are not available, so we wandered the exterior, peering into windows like a Peeping Tom.

In an effort to kill time before hotel check-in time, we stopped by the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery. When construction was completed in 1917, it was the largest and best equipped hatchery in California and could produce 2,000,000 fish fry per year. Unfortunately were were visiting during a time of year when tours are not available, so we wandered the exterior, peering into windows like a Peeping Tom.

Our traditional "John Muir Wilderness sign photo" while hiking up the Baxter Pass Trail.

Our traditional “John Muir Wilderness sign photo” while hiking up the Baxter Pass Trail.

The Independence Cemetery -- a couple blocks from our motel containing former residents who were miners and ranchers and soldiers.

The Independence Cemetery — a couple blocks from our motel containing former residents who were miners and ranchers and soldiers.

For the long weekend, we holed up in our cozy cabin (read: compact) at the Mt Williamson Motel. The location gave us easy access to the Sierras and the White Mountains.

For the long weekend, we holed up in our cozy cabin (read: compact) at the Mt. Williamson Motel. The location gave us easy access to both the Sierras and the White Mountains.

Walking outside our motel room and looking west, we were greeted by this morning view of the Sierras: Mt Bradley on the left; University Peak on the right.

Walking outside our motel room and looking west, we were greeted by this morning view of the Sierras: Mt Bradley on the left; University Peak on the right.

Our destination for the day was Mazourka Peak, a 9410' hilltop in the White Mountains. Heading up Mazourka Canyon Road, we first crossed the only remaining 100' section of the Carson & Colorado Railroad at Kersearge Station. A simple museum, of sorts.

Our destination for the day was Mazourka Peak, a 9410′ hilltop in the White Mountains. Heading up Mazourka Canyon Road, we first crossed the only remaining 100′ section of the Carson & Colorado Railroad at Kersearge Station. A simple museum, of sorts.

Our first stop up the canyon was at the Diggin's, a semi-active mining claim with some left-over infrastructure. Water flowed from the locked-up mine, running past grape arbors and cottonwood trees. And that there is the Slim Princess.

Our first stop up the canyon was at the Diggin’s, a semi-active mining claim with some left-over infrastructure. Water flowed from the locked-up mine, running past grape arbors and cottonwood trees. And that there is the Slim Princess.

The guys at the Diggin's were creative -- they placed the sanitary facilities directly over an abandoned vertical mine shaft. Bombs away!

The guys at the Diggin’s were creative — they placed the sanitary facilities directly over an abandoned vertical mine shaft. Bombs away!

At the top of Mazourka Peak we were rewarded with spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras and Owens Valley.

At the top of Mazourka Peak we were rewarded with spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras and Owens Valley.

Along with hilltop communications equipment, we saw an EarthScope GPS monitoring station, keeping a watchful eye on our pesky tectonic plates.

Along with hilltop communications equipment, we saw an EarthScope GPS monitoring station, keeping a watchful eye on our pesky tectonic plates.

On the way back down Mazourka Canyon, we stopped to check out one of the many silver and lead mines in the area which have been worked for more than 100 years.

On the way back down Mazourka Canyon, we stopped to check out one of the many silver and lead mines in the area which have been worked for more than 100 years.

This mine went about 50' into the mountain, then dead-ended. Remember kids, don't try this at home -- you'll have to go to the desert and find your own abandoned mine.

This mine went about 50′ into the mountain, then dead-ended. Remember kids, don’t try this at home — you’ll have to go to the desert and find your own abandoned mine.

We took advantage of less-than-perfect weather to visit the Eastern California Museum in Independence. There were lots of cool exhibits including mining and ranching, and information about the Manzanar "relocation center." Very interesting and well worth the visit.

We took advantage of less-than-perfect weather to visit the Eastern California Museum in Independence. There were lots of cool exhibits including mining and ranching, and information about the Manzanar “relocation center.” Very interesting and well worth the visit.

Sunday night dinner at the Still Life Cafe next door to the market. The owners are not without personality and they serve great food.

Sunday night dinner at the Still Life Cafe next door to the market. The owners are not without personality and they serve great food.

On the way home we opted to take Foothill Road to the Alabama Hills, paralleling Highway 395. More fun because it's dirt!

On the way home we opted to take Foothill Road to the Alabama Hills, paralleling Highway 395. More fun because it’s dirt!

 

One Response to Basecamp: Indy

  1. Love your travel logs with photos. Thanks for sharing.

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