Thanksgiving East of the Sierra’s

Thanksgiving Long Weekend, November 26 to December 1, 2019

We were very much looking forward to our traditional Thanksgiving to Death Valley. This time we wanted to add a side trip to Alabama Hills, a place we had often driven past but never visited. The forecast was for heavy snows so we kept an eye on the weather while driving.

The first plan was to head north and east and make the crossing over the Sierras at Sonora, the pass was open when we left San Francisco. But this road got closed, along with other passes through the mountains. We believed heavy rains we were experiencing at lower the altitudes would mean snow above 4000ft. So, we turned tail and headed due South instead, stopping the night in good old Bakersfield. The following morning we rolled into Lone Pine, visited the Visitor Center and finished the last few miles driving into Alabama Hills. We eventually found what we considered the best place to park for the night, only to change our minds once it got dark; so yes, we moved Molly in the dark. We walked the Arches Loop Trail, which was very nice. Mt Whitney was nowhere to be seen as it was shrouded in ominous looking clouds.

We woke up Friday to some unexpected snow. It seemed it had snowed all night. The advantages of a well insulated truck habitat I guess – and snow is kinda light and fluffy :). The snow kept us inside most of the day, but Stephen did go for a short hike to stretch his legs. Caroline wandered around in the vicinity of Molly and prepared a fingerlicking Turkey dinner (with all the trimmings: carrots, broccoli and home made cranberry sauce) for Thanksgiving.

We will return to Alabama Hills, but now it was time to head to Death Valley and Panamint Dunes. The drive was amazing with the fresh snow everywhere, and added a new dimension to this road we have done many times. We stayed there for two days and just relaxed. Ok, Stephen hiked to the Dunes in the morning and Lake Hill. On Sunday we made the epic journey back to San Francisco.

All the Passes over the Sierras are closed.
On Thursday we crossed from Bakersfield to Ridgecrest and then up the 395. Amazing views.
And some snow on the pass. First time seeing snow and Joshua Trees together.
Camp for what turned out to be 2 nights.
Hiking the Arches Loop Trail.
Traditional meatballs and baked beans.
We woke-up to find it had snowed overnight.
Cold overnight, but not that cold.
Molly blends in nicely.
Another night and another meal. This time Turkey.
South to Death Valley National Park.
Not everyday you see water in a desert. First time ever we saw water in Panamint Valley; and we’ve been there numerous times.
Camping near Panamint Dunes.
Dinner outside, which was nice. Left over Turkey,
Caroline enjoying being inside.
Stephen hiked to the Dunes. This hike had been on the wish list for a long time.
The last dinner, this time cooked over a fire.
Heading home.