“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”~Dr. Seuss
April 1, 2015
White Mountain Talc Road to the Dow Villa in Lone Pine
4,300 elevation gain, 5,400 elevation loss
Well last night was miserable and we never got warm. At about 4:00 am we packed it up and started climbing 3000′ up into the Inyo Mountains. It is a beautiful transition area from Joshua Trees to Pinyon Pines. It is my favorite.
Our mission for the day was to make it 30 miles to Lone Pine to stay at the Dow Villa Motel. It is amazing what a soft, cozy, and warm bed can motivate a body to do. What we didn’t figure in is how long it would take to get through Long John Canyon.
Hiking through the Inyo Mountains gifts the hiker with magnificent views in all directions. The jeep road through this section is in great shape to make good time, but after leaving this luxury, it is slow going.
At the crest of the mountain is part of the old Salt Tram. Just as we reached the top we had our friends the fighter jets literally buzz us. We could see the pilot’s helmet, it was that close. Again our own personal escort.
Our navigation through Long John was a bit off and cost us daylight and time. See below for navigation tips.
We reached our water cache at Owenyo Lone Pine Road so lovingly stashed there by Lovenote and Burly at about 10:00 pm and still had 4 miles to Lone Pine. I cranked my music up, enjoyed the moonlight reflection off the Sierras and marched on through Owens Valley.
At 11:30 pm we scooted into Lovenote and Burly’s home where our car was waiting with resupply for our climb of Mount Whitney. We quickly made a mad dash to find anything open in town with fresh food. Luckily, at the edge of town the Chevron convenience store was just closing. Loaded up with 3 big boxes of deli sandwiches, carrot cake, coconut water, and a V8, we checked into the Dow Villa at 12:15 am.
Yowwwwwwzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaa! What a long day!
What We Did or Wish We Did:
-You will be trespassing in the area of Cerro Gordo Mine. We just walked quickly.
-Be prepared mentally for a very awkward traverse after Cerro Gordo Mine.
-Shortly after Burgess Mine look for duck on the left and leave jeep road. On the map it indicates the turn off is a jeep road. It is not. Go southwest a bit and meet a well-marked use trail.
-Biggest tip: pay attention to GPS and maps. The use trail will take you to the wash at the bottom of Long John, then you will leave the canyon and hike on the south ridge above the canyon. This is to circumvent a very high dry fall. The route then steeply dumps directly down into Long John before the spring. We stayed in the canyon and had to climb a steep class 3 up and around. Big mistake.
-We hiked the section around the Long John Spring at night, so we have no information on the water there. Everything did look dry.