Thursday, October 18, 2007

Six Days In September --- Mountains, Music, & Merryment --- 34 Pictures, with links...


September, 13th

MT. WHITNEY FISH HATCHERY Click on any photo to enlarge - all photos © 2007 jim otterstrom unless otherwise noted

Peggy and I went on vacation in September to the Eastern Sierras.

We rented a car---for the second time this year*---to visit friends in Independence, California.

Our friends, Brad & Amy, pictured below with their daughters, are wildlife biologists who live near this historic hatchery, built in 1917.

We arrived at their house shortly before noon and the girls immediately took off grocery shopping, so Brad & I had to entertain ourselves out in the back yard with beer, music, dogs, a few yarns, & the majestic Sierras as a backdrop.


*We rent a car between 2 & 4 times a year to visit friends, attend family gatherings, or just get away. We don't own one or use them in our daily lives.


Amy, Hannah, Claire, and Brad

Hatchery Pond

The hatchery pond is full of Rainbow Trout and sometimes Claire and Hannah get to feed the fish.

Claire & Hannah Pose
Among The Rocks Of 'Secret Valley'

On Friday, our first full day of Independence, Claire and Hannah wanted to take us on a hike to one of their favorite places, "Secret Valley".

On the trail to Secret Valley

Along the way to Secret Valley is an ancient dump containing priceless hidden treasures. Brad, Peg, and Claire head up the trail trying to catch up with Amy and Hannah, while Jim lags among the rusty old cans & broken bottles.

"Hold On Guys, I Could Use Some Of This Stuff!"

Peg & Jim's Treasure Trove

In just a few minutes we found and old whiskey bottle, two pieces of melted cobalt blue glass, the embossed bottom of a Sani-Clor bleach bottle, a piece of a fancy candy dish, and old perfume bottle stopper, a nicely rusted---pre pop-top---steel Lucky Lager beer can, and a metal California license plate tag from 1952, the year of Peggy's birth.

PRICELESS, I'm Tellin' Ya!!

~Entering Secret Valley~

As we entered Secret Valley, Gracie, the matriarch of our friend's three-dog pack, took a short cut, which led to my 'find of the day'.

The Remnants Of An Antique Electric Hotplate

photo by Amy

Thank you Gracie, for leading me to this great artifact I'll be adding to the collections of...

The Earth Home Botanical & Beer Gardens

~Last Outpost Museum~

& Temple Of The Lost Civilization.


Peggy takes in the view, looking south, from the other side of Secret Valley.

And Yes, The Sky Really Was This Blue
Looking back at boulders we climbed over on the hike out of Secret Valley.

Dallas, Cooling Off In Oak Creek
Frolicking & quenching his thirst for quite some time in this cool rushing Sierra snow melt, Dallas was reluctant to come out of the water, after our long warm hike. I'm glad I wasn't wearing that coat!

After our morning hike we drove a few miles south to the

Manzanar National Historic Site

A World War II Japanese Internment Camp

Manzanar has been partially restored and is now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Below is a description from the NPS website.

"The Manzanar Interpretive Center includes 8000 square feet of exhibits, a bookstore, and theaters which show the site's award winning 22-minute film, 'Remembering Manzanar'.

Extensive exhibits span a century of history, from 1885 to the present, with a focus on the World War II relocation and internment of Japanese Americans from the west coast.

Exhibits include a large scale model of Manzanar War Relocation Center crafted by former internees, historic photographs and audiovisual programs, and artifacts. A large graphic includes the names of over 10,000 Japanese Americans who spent all or part of World War II at Manzanar."

My camera batteries died on this heart-wrenching historical excursion so I have no pictures, but I'm adding several links below so you can read about the place.



September 14th, 15th, & 16th, 2007

We all had tickets for the 3-day, Inyo Council For The Arts, Millpond Music Festival in Bishop, California.

Peggy & I came to Millpond in 2003 on our way home from The Strawberry Music Festival just outside of Yosemite, and we loved it here.

This is the first chance we've had to come back.

Here's an accurately descriptive blurb from their website.
“Millpond Music Festival brings an eclectic and fine collection of traditional and contemporary music to one of the most intimate festival surroundings imaginable. Crossing ethnic and cultural lines in a celebration of life in all its diversity, you can immerse yourself in an exotic mix of world music, surrounded by the stunning mountains at autumn's first blush.”

There were 18 acts performing over 3 days, beginnng at 6 P.M. Friday, and ending about 9 P.M. Sunday. So much is going on at the festival that I didn't get pictures of all the performers, but some of our favorites are pictured below.

Other perfromers we liked included:







*Joe Craven is a wonderful wild man, just visit his website and put a smile on your face.


Ashley Broder & Jamie Laval

"Traditional Scottish, Irish, Bretagne and bluegrass music with innovative hints of classical refinement and ethnic music from around the world."
(read more at Ashley's website)

For us, this extremely talented Celtic duo was one of the highlights of Millpond this year.
We bought their great CD, Zephyr in the Confetti Factory, and Ashley Broder even posted my photo of them on her website.


David Tiller and Enion Pelter-Tiller, of TAARKA, create energetic magic with their "seismic gypsy hypno-jazz" on Saturday, following Ashley & Jamie, with another crowd-pleasing performance.

Saturday Night Jam At Nina's Camp

Nina (in lavender at the right), a friend of Brad & Amy's, plays her mandolin during a sweet little jam at her Millpond campsite on Saturday night. Some very good players dropped by to sit in.
At the left of the table in the background, you can see Peggy with Claire on her lap.

More players at Nina's Jam

Another view of Nina's jam, from the opposite side of camp, catches Brad playing some of his fancy guitar licks, just before the guy in the center, playing mandolin, started belting out some great vocals---and a fine yodeler he is too!

The Horse Flies

Rich Stearns, Judy Hyman, & Jeff Claus, of The Horse Flies

Composite photo by jim otterstrom

"A band that's earned a buzz ... The Horse Flies churn out swirling, addictive songs, blending tradition with invention." -- Rolling Stone

Peggy and I came to Millpond to dance, and The Horse Flies really delivered the groove with their driving, primal---almost trance-inducing---techno-bluegrass mind-bending rhythmic jams.


From 9 P.M. til after midnight we danced non-stop, which took us into the wee hours of Sunday, September 16th, our 28th Wedding Anniversary, and what a fantastic way to celebrate it!

Fellow Revelers Dancing To The Horse Flies

As you can see, everyone was having a helluva good time!

That's Nina again, on the left.

She hiked for 4 days, alone, out of Sequoia National Park to attend Millpond, and then hiked 4 more days back in again.


The Waybacks with Joe CravenThe closing act on Sunday night, still our Anniversary, was The Waybacks, a hot band of musical prodigies with dizzying chops. Another group that had everybody on their feet!

A Happy Blurry Peggy In Dance Mode
Just Before Sundown As The Waybacks Get Started
What can I say, it's hard to focus the camera when you're dancing.
That's Claire 'dancing' with Brad on the right.

What Is She Doing With That Guy?

~Love Is Blind~

Peg & Jim In Front Of The Waybacks
~photo by a thoughtful girl in the audience~


more adventures in nature On the way to Mount Whitney Road, and a day of hiking at the edge of the Golden Trout and John Muir Wilderness areas, Claire shows me and Dallas a cave that would be perfect for us to live in.
Good Find Claire! I'm Ready To Move In...
I think I even have a door to fit it!

A Little Farther Up The Road
We saw this beat up old Desert Tortoise on the shoulder, heading for the highway, so Amy very carefully moved it across the road so it wouldn't get run over.

WHERE WE WERE HEADEDThis sign was the end of the line for Dallas, he's not allowed in Wilderness areas.

Along the Way...

Peg & Claire on a log bridge

Hannah dropping pebbles in a pool...

Brad exploring nooks & crannies...

~Coming Back Down, After The Hike~
Looking Northeast toward Lone Pine...
...and no, we're not in an airplane!

An adventure in itself...

...but then came


One of the most breathtaking places I've ever seen.
I''ll be coming back to this spot with my camera, for maybe a week, just to explore & take pictures!
I love this photo, it's the new backgound on my computer screen.
And it's just how it came from the camera, no color enhancement.

The end of a long day...
...back at Brad & Amy's place


On The Way Home

A stop at Fossil Falls

~and then~

Back Home, Tuesday Afternoon, September 18th???

The sky was full of water-dropping helicopters...


photo by Jonny-the Computer Doctor

This is what had been going on in Big Bear while we were lost in bliss in the Eastern Sierra.
The town of Fawnskin, on the north shore, was still evacuated, but no homes were lost, and the fire was pretty much contained by that time.
Glad we missed it!
Sometimes Ignorance Is Bliss!

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Blogger Paul said...

OK, I admit it. I'm guilty of lusting to see these places.

Glad you had a good trip!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hey Paul,

How've you been?

Long time no see!

But that's because I've been a poor exscuse for a blogger lately.

Too many distractions...

3:33 PM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

Dallas looks like a happy happy dog on his holiday!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


Dallas loves being wherever we are and loved the hikes, especially when there was water nearby.

Little Claire and Hannah were really taken with him too.

4:41 PM  
Blogger roger said...

thanks for the pix jim. robin and i have hiked whitney portal up to the first lake and most of the day hikes up into the mountains between lone pine and bishop. we love that area of california.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Jim said...


The eastern Sierra, the
Mojave desert, and the north coast, are california's last best places.

Ironically, The City of Los Angeles theft of Owens Valley's water is what has preserved the natural beauty of the place, preventing the kind of overdevelopment suffered upon the rest of the state.

We love it up there too, having spent a good deal of time hiking, and soaking in hot springs from Saline Valley to Bridgeport.

Somehow we missed the Alabama Hills until this trip though.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

That is a gorgeous stone building at the hatchery! I love stone work, as you might guess from our work on our tiny cottage. You had commented on my granite bathroom planter post that you're saving up bottles for a similar project. I hope you'll post about it. I would love to see it. Did you notice the square brown bottle we turned sideways? It's more visible in the bathroom bottle wall post. Some of the bottles we've been getting from the local pub are very interesting shapes and colors.

2:50 PM  
Blogger David Edward said...

glad to read of your travels, jim

10:32 PM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...


I hope you and yours are save from the terrible fires in the Malibu area.


7:32 AM  
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11:02 PM  

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