Now that we arrived in California, our next destination was Bishop, CA. We heard that Bishop was a nice town in the Eastern Sierra popular for its fly fishing and hot springs among other activities. We decided to stop through there on our way to Mono Lake, Bodie and Yosemite. Bishop is a small town with a lot of character and we fell in love with it! Our quick drive-by became a 5 day layover. Mammoth is a small town of about 8,000 people. The town lies within the Owen’s River Valley backed up against the mountains with nearby Mt. Whitney. Just the sort of place to spend a few days to get to know its character and the perfect spot for us to explore some new hobbies.
Photography is one of Darryl’s interests and he was familiar with the work of the late Galen and Barbara Rowell. Their studio is Mountain Light Photography gallery located in Bishop. They were able to capture moments that the majority of us with cameras never see. There were stories alongside many of the photographs explaining how the photo was composed, the time of day and the inspiration. These photos didn’t come by chance, they were planned and their patience paid off. They traveled the world for their photography and we’re looking forward to seeing many of these places along our own journey.
Our time in Bishop turned into an experience of personal discovery for us where we indulged in our personal interests one of which is fly fishing. During the past year we started looking into the sport and in the fall of 2013, we spent a day with the late Bill Lowe of Sacramento, California. He was a fly fishing guide and a wonderful teacher of the sport. We had a great time on the American River where Bill taught us the fundamentals of fly fishing, casting, how to read the currents and a basic intro to entymology. The day piqued our interest enough to purchase the gear and put our very basic skills to the test as we travel.
Our next stop in Bishop was at the local fly shop to get recommendations for fly fishing guides in the area. We were fortunate to find Beryl Rhea of The Trout Scout and she was able to fit us into her schedule at the last minute. She took us up to Upper Intake 2 along Hwy 168 for an afternoon of fly fishing. I loved it! I even caught a few fish! Mine were small brown trout and rainbow trout but Darryl managed to catch a respectable size rainbow of about 4 pounds! We left all of our fish in the lake but came away from the afternoon with a heightened interest in learning more about this sport. We hope to have many more opportunities to practice fly fishing but we bought spinning reels if we actually want to have something to eat for dinner. 🙂
In the spirit of exploring our interests, Darryl encouraged me to call on one of the many horse trainers in the area. Like many little girls, I was obsessed with horses when I was growing up. My dream was always to own a horse but I never pursued this dream. I had lots of excuses for not doing so like too much work and not enough time. Darryl pointed out that I don’t have these excuses anymore so why not reach out to really learn about what it means to be a horsewoman? I found a horse trainer, Linda of the Double L Ranch, and gave her a call fully expecting that she wouldn’t have time to answer my silly questions. To my surprise, she spoke with me for almost 20 minutes giving me some advice on how to pursue this dream while traveling! She also introduced me to the idea of owning a mule instead of a horse. I have never heard of such a thing and learned that mules are 15x smarter than a horse and are more sure-footed than horses on the trails. Mules also tend to establish a stronger bond with their owner than a horse does. This was all very intriguing to me.
We stopped by the Double L Ranch to see if she had time in the next couple of days to give me a riding lesson. She had time right then but I didn’t have the proper boots to wear. So instead, she spent the afternoon showing me how to groom and tack a horse and then had us stay to watch a riding lesson. She walked us through the basics of what she was looking for and what she was asking of the rider. It was a wonderful introduction into this world! But I really wanted to get onto a mule so she sent me to the local horse riding outfitter to buy some proper boots to wear and agreed to give me a lesson the following day. Here are some photos from the ranch.
The next day I arrived ready to start my lesson and Linda introduced me to Max, their champion mule. We thought that I would have a chance to ride him but he wasn’t very interested in being led to the riding area. Since this is uncommon behavior for him, Linda looked him over very closely and found that he had a sore on the back of his leg so we put him back and pulled out Jazz, a chestnut quarter horse.
After our time at the Double L Ranch we drove up into the mountains to cool off. We stopped to enjoy the view at Lake Sabrina.
Before leaving Bishop, we drove through Fish Slough to find the petroglyphs that we heard were out there. Darryl read about them but it was difficult to find any information on their exact location. It seems that there has been much vandalism to the petroglyphs. Vandals have written over them while others stole some of the pieces and in the process they destroyed some of the panels. He did find the coordinates for the petroglyphs which were on the main road out to Fish Slough.
We had a wonderful time in Bishop and look forward to returning sometime soon after our trip. If you get a chance to go, check out the Burger Barn! We ate there twice while in town. The menu is a riff on the plain burger with dozens of options for your toppings. They get the fundamentals right starting with fresh food sourced locally and prepared well. It wasn’t anything fancy but oftentimes I find that fancy is overpriced and they under deliver. This place makes a reasonably priced meal that tastes great.