Not only does Lone Pine, California hold the tallest mountain in the lower 48; it also contains tons of western film history. In 1920, the Alabama Hills were the location for a silent film called “The Roundup.” Soon, other production companies discovered the beautiful location and eventually over 400 films, 100+ TV episodes and many commercials have been shot there.When I was growing up, I used to spend many, many nights at my grandparents’ house. I spent the nights up too late eating cashews and popcorn with my grandpa watching John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood shoot ‘em ups and counting all of the books in his extensive Louis L’Amour library.
My tattoo sleeve is heavily Western inspired, with an old camping lantern, horseshoes and cowboy boots. And one day, when I climb that mountain, Mt. Whitney is going on there too, completing the pieces. I realized that although Whitney didn’t work out, I was standing in a place I appreciated and connected to more than I ever could have thought.
A small restaurant, Totem Cafe, where we grabbed lunch had classic Western film stars signatures scrawled and carved into the walls. The place we stored our RV (Boulder Creek) had paraphernalia and history books to purchase. Every business and building was like a living and functioning museum. It felt like stepping back in time. To be in a place that connected me back to parts of my childhood that are tied permanently into my adult life; it was all very unexpectedly cathartic.
In the time we spent in Lone Pine, it became apparent that this was it. Maybe not exactly there, but near there – is where we will ultimately end up in the next 5-10 years. The west side of the US has always been special to us. We have loved Utah and Arizona and have been back to those areas over 4 times the last year and a half – two years.
But the tugging nostalgia I felt, the epic views of those majestic mountains, the laid back, easy feelin’ atmosphere…it’s where we want to be.
Everywhere we have visited the last few years, have been for fun of course…but we have also been low key searching for where we belong.
The PNW? Northern Arizona? Virginia near the AT? The pristine Upper Peninsula in Michigan?
No, it’s the Eastern Sierra. Highway 395. Somewhere out there. We found it. Or…it found us.
The long drive back to Illinois was filled with excited thoughts and “what if’s” and big dreams. California dreams. We may not have had our adventure the way we wanted it, but that just means the real one is yet to begin.
Category: Mt. Whitney, Turkey and SnackPack, UncategorizedTags: adventure, backpacking, california, camping, eastern Sierra, epic social adventures, highway 395, hike, hiking, lone pine, lone pine California, love, nature, opt outside, optoutside, outdoors, roadtrip, Sierra, summer, travel, vacation, weekend warriors, western movie