convict lake

This weekend I was originally planning to go to Yosemite with some people from my church. We had a permit for Half Dome, so a group of us were planning to do that epic hike. In addition I had some friends who wanted to do Cloud’s Rest. So I was looking at something like back to back 16 mile hikes for the weekend. For the past week there’s been a big wildfire just outside of Yosemite, but it looked like we would still be able to do our hikes, since the fire was on the west side of Yosemite, and our campsite was outside of the eastern boundary of Yosemite, many miles away. But a couple of days before our trip we found that our route into the Yosemite Valley was closed, so I ended up cancelling the trip.

I ended up camping with Flo and some of her friends– Iris and Masa (thanks so much for letting me crash the campsite at the last minute). Ironically, the campsite where they were staying was just down the road from the campsite I had cancelled. We spent the weekend at Convict Lake, which is off of highway 395. Uncharacteristically of me, I had forgotten to bring a camera, so unfortunately all my pictures from this trip were shot on my cellphone.

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The drive into the campsite was quite smoky because of the Yosemite Rim fire.

IMG_20130831_142857But it was relatively clear at Convict Lake. It’s really unfortunate that I forgot to bring my SLR, because the scenery at the lake is incredibly nice.

IMG_20130831_162024These tubes were bought a couple of years ago on a stupid whim— but they’ve been getting some good use lately.

IMG_20130831_165206I invented a new way to fish. Okay, so it wasn’t quite conducive to fishing– but it was quite conducive to relaxing.

IMG_20130831_131050Convict Lake is apparently a popular spot for weddings. We saw at least five different wedding parties over the weekend. Some of those wedding pictures were probably slightly ruined (or in my opinion greatly enhanced) by a fat Korean dude attempting to fish from an inner tube.

IMG_20130901_110616We made a side trip out to Manzanar, which was the site of an Internment Camp during World War II. There is a museum there that displays the history of the camp.

2013-08-31-09-02 - convict lake camping1In high school I remember reading “Farewell to Manzanar.” Not much remains of the original camp, but there was a memorial and a graveyard that was still well preserved.

IMG_20130831_203438In the evenings we went to a hot spring nearby. Apparently the whole area has tons of natural hot springs. We went to one of the most popular ones called Wild Willy’s hot spring. It was pretty awesome– the sky was clear enough to see the Milky Way above us, and we could see lightning in the distance. Sitting in the natural hot spring, sipping on a cold beer, while staring up at the stars and watching the lightning in the distance was quite an awesome experience.

2013-08-31-09-02 - convict lake campingWe spent a good amount of time cooking and eating. Iris and Masa have a ton of really cool camp cooking equipment– all this really high tech looking stuff that collapses and packs into really small kits. Kinda puts my big, heavy iron skillet to shame…

IMG_20130902_071542I felt so tubby from all that food that I actually attempted to go for a run on the trail around the lake. I was so short of breath during the entire run. “Am I this out of shape?!” I wondered, since I could barely run a few hundred yards. I felt a little better when I got home and found that the trail was at 7600 feet– at least I could blame my shortness of breath on the thinner air.

All in all, it was an awesome weekend, definitely the most relaxing in recent memory. Thanks so much to Flo, Iris and Masa for letting me crash their trip at the last minute.

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