What a camping trip in Bishop, California!
Learned how to gut fish, play serious poker, construct ruh-coon traps, and play washers.
We departed on at 10 pm from Ashland to embark on our super-moon guided trek south on i-5, through Reno and past Mammoth. Seven dark, deer-filled, hours later we arrived at McGee Creek in Bishop, California! The Urrutia clan had already set up, and as it was 4 am, Dalton and I passed out in the car until dawn. Dalton’s 22nd birthday started off with the excitement of him opening his birthday present from Kacey, a wrapped Smirnoff Ice sitting right outside the car door. The day proceed with an excess of drinking (for Dalton) as that is best way for a birthday to be celebrated. My present for the old man was a pair of Chubbies, something one day I may come to regret. 😉
During our super moon filled night of driving a ruh-coon had ransacked our campsite. After consuming 24 boxes of worms, 6 chocolate Costco muffins, and half a bag of dog food it was determined that this ruh-coon must be caught and as the boys put it “ex-he-cuted.” So the afternoon commenced with strawberry margaritas and a 3 hour process of digging a hole, with a false floor, layered with food, in order to catch this ruh-coon.
The next morning was an early fishing departure to the meadow.
Caught my first (ever) trout and learned how to gut a fish. The worst part of the whole process was a competition between putting the withering (obviously silently screaming) worms onto the hook OR allowing the fish to die in a dark creel next to other dead fish. BUT putting that in the back of my head I had a wonderful and exciting time catching fish. However the following morning we headed to the pines where I ended the morning with a full creel (5 fish)! A very momentous and successful morning, where it was decided that I preferred river fishing over Lake Powell fishing. (You catch more fish). The best part of the morning was watching Dalton catch a fish, who jumped and wrapped itself around a branch. The line had to be cut.
Each day proceeded in somewhat of the same way. Fishing in the morning, Bloody-Mary’s back at camp, a DELICIOUS traditional Basque breakfast, showers, beer, poker (one day I won the Texas Hold ’em game!!!), beer, playing washers, shots, potentially an afternoon fishing session, TASTY Basque dinner, and an evening filled of card games, campfires, and more drinks. I introduced the Urrutia clan to the card game Mafia, which turned out to be a huge hit and a regular evening festivity.
The other fishing adventures included Owen Creek, that although beautiful, contained not a single fish dumb enough to bite our worms.
The final HUGE adventure of the trip was the morning of fishing up the trail head on the top of McGee Creek.
We left before dawn hungover and tired. Each step was (honestly) excruciating, but the promise of seeing an “80 foot” (-Garret Urrutia) waterfall was what kept my feet moving. Once coming upon this waterfall after an hour of hiking revealed a beautiful, but very small stream coming down the mountain.
But the promise of better fishing holes kept us trekking (off-trail now) upstream. Next a sign for a lake (mileage not included) became our new destination. Thanks to Daltons advice of off-roading and shortcuts we lost the new-found trail and ended up scrambling up a granite rock slide. The lake was nowhere in sight. Such disappointment until we turned around to this view.
We spent the remainder of our journey fishing down the creek catching Brooky and Rainbow trout. Being 5 miles into the middle of nowhere, the fishing was superb. At one hole Dalton, Garrett, and Josh each caught 5 fish. I “caught” one fish 6 times, which turned into a fierce battle of finally getting him into my hands to have him wriggle out and be lost forever. We finally forced ourselves to stop fishing and start the LONG walk back to the trail head (which ended up taking 2 hours). We whooped and hollered when we finally got back to the car and back to camp over an hour after breakfast. It was a 10 mile (roundtrip) and 6.5 hour journey.
Such a great week of camping. Hard to say goodbye but so grateful for all the new skills, people, and great memories were had in that short week. This time the ruh-coon escaped our many attempts at capture, but a whole new year of planning should be enough to capture the beast.