Friday, July 13, 2007

Inyo Fires & discovery of Montezuma Trail

As we hiked out of our last backpacking trip west of bishop (subject of the next post), the thunder clouds were building fast. After only 10 lightning strikes, 5 brushfires were started throughout the Eastern Sierra...The Inyo Complex Fire.

By the time we got to Big Pine, HWY 395 was closed. Bummer! We decided to camp that night since there was no logical detour.

Instantly we were in EXPLORE mode! Driving east towards Death Valley, we followed a series of dirt roads up into the Inyo Mountains east of Big Pine in search of a campsite with views of the fires.

Not only did we find a great campsite with panorama views of the entire valley, including the closed highway, we happened to park at a long lost trailhead. After climbing the adjacent peak to check out the surroundings, we determined that this trail dropped over 3,000 feet back down to the Owen's River on the valley floor. The mountain bikers in us were thinking one thing...perfect singletrack!! It passes by 2 old mines; one of them named Montezuma Mine.

The fires finally subsided by morning and we were back on our way through 35,000 acres of scorched land. We plan to come back with mountain bikes and check out this Montezuma Mine Trail. It can be looped with dirt roads, or shuttled for the long downhill descent. We'll let you know how it goes!

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