High Country

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31 Jul: Watch Out for Washouts

Major storms in July devastated Eastern Sierra roads and trails. A 40-foot-high mudslide across 168 West stranded hikers in the Sabrina Basin, and severe washouts made the Pine Creek Pass and Piute Pass Trails nearly impassable. Another mudslide closed the Lundy Canyon Road and destroyed a portion of the trail reroute our Stewardship Crew spent three weeks building in June. Luckily, Friends of the Inyo’s Trail Ambassadors are poised to address exactly this type of emergency. With extensive experience, flexible schedules, and great attitudes, they can act as first responders for trail crises throughout the region. On short notice, we…

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08 Sep: Photos from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project

Check out photos by volunteer, photographer, and Bishop resident Ken Miller from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project. This year, we partnered with the Inyo National Forest, and 6 volunteers helped on trail maintenance and campsite restoration around Shadow Lake and the John Muir Trail. It was such a great experience for everyone involved, and check back this fall because we’ll be posting stories about how much fun we had and work we got done in the coming weeks.

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08 Sep: Community Service: Deluxe Edition

The Ansel Adams Wilderness Project brought six volunteers into the Shadow Lake area for five days of backcountry trail restoration. Youth volunteer Thomas Zentmyer came along for the community service hours, but went home with an experience he’ll remember forever. Check out his words below, and stay tuned for more stories and photos from the trip. “I’m a frequent visitor to the backcountry, but this trip had scenery like I had never seen before. I would come back from a hard day of work and settle down for dinner, all the while surrounded by the sound of gushing water, golden…

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15 Aug: How Can We Love a Place?

Check out Trail Ambassador Astra’s intellectual exploration of connecting to a place: While leading my third “Wild Harvest” interpretive hike for FOI this summer, one of the participants mused about what’s underfoot. We were three-quarters of a mile up the Parker Bench Trail, pausing in the ecotone between sage steppe and forest riparian corridor. The group had just come to a stand of aspen, and we were discussing the interconnectedness of trees: how a web of fungi in the soil allows trees across species to share nutrients and knowledge amongst themselves for the betterment of the forest writ large. “There’s…

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15 Aug: Getting Nostalgic in the Mammoth Lakes Basin with the Trail Ambassadors

Watching the Trail Ambassadors run the cross cut saw to remove a log from a trail in the Mammoth Lakes Basin put us in an old time kind of mood, so here’s pictures of them working in black and white. Look for the Trail Ambassadors on high country trails this summer, or join them for Trail Work Thursday or an interpretive hike.

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15 Aug: Trail Ambassadors in Little Lakes Valley

For a month now, Friends of the Inyo’s Eastern Sierra Trail Ambassadors have been on the ground, working hard to open up and clear out high country trails after an epic winter. One place they’ve really enjoyed working is Rock Creek and the trails leading out of Little Lakes Valley. On the way up to Ruby Lake, a few Whitebark pine fell across the trail and they spent an afternoon sawing them out. Check out photos below, and look for the Trail Ambassadors out on trails all summer long.

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15 Aug: Youth volunteers bring a sense of wonder to Rock Creek

Watching the students’ ecstatic faces as they raced toward a muddy patch of snow on the Tamarack Bench trail, you might have thought this was the highlight of their summer. But the chance to lob pine-needled-filled snowballs at their counselors was just one of many bright moments during a weekend of trail stewardship with the youth adventure programs Rustic Pathways and Road Less Traveled. One student from New York City had never seen the stars before they appeared above her campsite on Crowley Lake. Several others hiked above 10,000 feet for the first time in their lives. For some, finding a robin’s nest…

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30 Nov: My Favorite Trees

My Favorite Trees: Reflections on a forest, the whitebark among us. Ben Wickham I think I first noticed the dying trees in 2010, but others had observed them before me. A friend pointed it out one day while skiing along the Tamarack Bench in Rock Creek. A ski tour can be a quiet endeavor through a forest that at times may seem to have little to say or show besides the hum of the winter wind or chickaree tracks running from one tree to another. We paused in the grove of dead trees, and, standing among the skeleton snags, we…