It’s really hot in a desert. Wow, what a surprise, right?
Starting our day with a hot soup (after burning our oatmeal so badly that, even after trying to wash it so many times, it still doesn’t come off the pot), I was a tiny bit jealous because my dear friend’s sleeping mat and sleeping bag stayed dry. But at the same time, I admired my sleeping bag because it kept me somewhat warm even when a good half of it was completely drenched. (It’s from REI but I have to find out how it’s actually called for you.)
The Miracle of Morning
Trying to save as much as possible, we did our best to spread the tent so the sun that was just rising up from behind the horizon could reach it and dry it out at least a bit before we had to leave.
The morning was beautiful. Watching the sunrise from Tuolumne Meadows, seeing how the sun rays reach the thousands of tiny drops of water caught up in the grass, lightning up the whole meadow with this mysteriously-looking light… It made me wonder why do we people try our best to destroy these magical places.
But before I could get sad over that reality, a souslik-like looking animal (I know, I know, I wish, too, I knew how that animal we really saw is called) ran in front of my feet and then just stood up, looking at me as if it was saying: “Don’t you dare to be sad on such a beautiful morning!”
*The souslik is a type of ground-nesting squirrel endemic to Europe.
And it was right – this morning wasn’t supposed to be sad for me. I was supposed to enjoy and cherish this moment created by Mother Nature, this beautiful symphony transcending the limits of human perception.
How (Not) to Pack Wet Stuff
Let’s be honest, the tent didn’t dry out a bit. Getting all the stuff packed in the boot (or trunk) was a challenge 2.0. Putting the least wet blanket over our dry stuff, we tried our best to protect what was left unharmed.
Tha last thing to go in the boot was the tent, completely wet and unbelievably dirty. Please believe me, we really did our best.
We took off and hit the road. But none of us was ready for what was about to come.
Shortly after leaving the place of the night disaster, we arrived at Tioga Lake. Note: I had no idea it was there, I didn’t really study the map so much. It took our breath. I just stopped the car there and we spent another about half an hour just sitting there and staring at the beauty.
With Mt. Dana still covered in snow, as well as all other high peaks you can see from the lake, with the colourful rocks, with the white clouds sailing through the blue sky and sun making all the the colours so vivid, we couldn’t believe it was real.
I wish I could capture that in a picture but the truth is that none of the photos I took there can be compared to the real thing.
Passing through Lee Vining, wondering if we should stop at some gas station (but giving it up because of the prices), we couldn’t take our eyes off another lake.
It caught our sight earlier when we were turning from highway 120 onto 395 – but now it seemed even more huge.
And I remembered, what my host mum told me – this has to be THE Mono Lake! Of course, we stopped there.
And after we took a short walk to the shore, admiring the colour of the water and quite strange stone formations while being a bit scared of the seagulls that became somewhat territorial, we decided to take a short break and spread the tent (and other wet stuff) on the warm concrete to give it some chance to get dry.
Ella did her surgery routine (understand squeezing unbelievable amount of unbelievably disgusting red-white-purple-black stuff from a probably-spider bite on her leg and disinfecting it with hand sanitizer because I’m an idiot and forgot to replace the disinfection-stuff in my first-aid kit) while I tried to figure out if we could make it to Nevada without buying any expensive fuel in this quite remote part of California (I think it was in Bridgeport where we stopped to take some for $20 to make it to Nevada).
Under the Nevada Sun
Roadworks in Colevile and again right on the shore of Topaz Lake – and the Welcome-to-Nevada sign was waiting there for us!
Shortly after entering the state, we were stopped by a patrol to check for someone they were looking for. They partly couldn’t believe the terrible mess we had in our car thanks to our effort to keep our stuff dry – and the crushed back of the car back from 2009, although marked with some sticker from DMV or whatever saying that it’s ok, probably didn’t make them happy either.
Glad they let us go, we kept driving into the middle of nowhere, then got off the road to drive into some valley with the only stream in at least a 50-mile surrounding.
In the meanwhile, the temperature climbed up to over 100°F (about 38°C). Later on, I wasn’t even brave enough to check the temperature again.
We stopped there, next to the precious water source, under the hot Nevada sun and spread our tent and blankets on the burning rocky ground. Before we prepared our stove and pot to boil the water to make some lunch (more than far enough from anything that could potentially catch on fire), the miracle happened – all the wet things were completely dry, it was so quick!
We left it there just to make sure it was thoroughly dry, especially the blankets, even on the inside – but I kept nervously thinking about when it was going to burst into flames.
Shortly before our own brains got boiled, we were done with our lunch, packed out all the trash and dirty pots and spoons (if you’re thinking why we didn’t wash it in the stream, that is a big NO-NO), neatly folded our now dry stuff, glad we didn’t have to transform the boot into a pit of wet destruction again, and continued on our way.
The previous Our-Little-Road-Trip article is HERE.
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