Eastern Sierra Over Memorial Day: Thor’s First Camping Trip!

This year, we took a more laid back approach to our annual Memorial Day Trip in the Eastern Sierra. In past years we’ve bagged peaks and escaped snow storms, but this year we decided to take it easy. Why? Well, first of all, David was recovering from minor surgery and couldn’t lift or do any strenuous activity. But also? It was Mighty Thor‘s first camping trip! We didn’t want to overwhelm the guy, so we just tooled around the Eastern Sierra and let him have a lot of new experiences.

David removed the whole back seat of the pickup truck so that Thor has a big space to enjoy on the long drives. He was a champ and had no issues on the 6+ hour drive to Lone Pine on the first night!

Let's go camping!
Let’s go camping!

We arrived at our campsite in the Alabama Hills after dark and met friends. Thor had fun going bonkers, and slept soundly in his crate just below us at the end of the truck. In the morning, I poked my head out of my sleeping bag and was greeted with one of my favorite views on the planet.

Hello Mount Whitney!
Hello Mount Whitney!

On Saturday morning we decided to head north and check out some of the creeks flowing out of the mountains. Our goal was to find a good little swimming hole to get Thor in water. We didn’t have much luck up along Goodale Creek, so we headed south, stopping by the Whitney Fish Hatchery for a picnic lunch.

Whitney Fish Hatchery
Whitney Fish Hatchery

From here we decided to drive in towards the Baxter Pass trailhead. It’s one of the few east side approaches I have not been on before, so the drive was new to me. It was along this road that we found a perfect little swimming hole for Thor to comfortably splash around in. I say it was a success for his first swimming lesson!

Thor's first swim lesson
Thor’s first swim lesson

We got back to camp mid afternoon and while the boys lounged around in the shade I decided to head off on a short hike to explore. The Alabama Hills are famous for many reasons, one of them being the crazy arch formations that can be found all over the place. I visited eight within a ~3 mile loop hike from camp.

Arch 1: Behind-the-Heart arch (camp also shown)

Behind the Heart Arch and Camp
Behind the Heart Arch and Camp

Arch 2: Heart Arch

Heart Arch
Heart Arch

Arch 3: Lathe Arch

Lathe Arch
Lathe Arch

Arch 4: Mobius Arch – the only famous (and crowded) one of the bunch

Mobius from a different angle
Mobius from a different angle

Arch 5: Space Arch

Space Arch
Space Arch

Arch 6: Baseball Bat Arch

Baseball Bat Arch
Baseball Bat Arch

Arch 7: Eye of Alabama Arch

Eye of Alabama
Eye of Alabama

Arch 8: Shark Tooth Arch

Shark Tooth Arch
Shark Tooth Arch

The next morning we headed north and explored Casa Diablo Road. The views of the sierra were fantastic, especially with a fresh dusting of snow.

Sierra from Casa Diablo
Sierra from Casa Diablo

Next, Thor went fishing with David. Neither caught anything.

Fishing near June Lake
Fishing near June Lake

For our last night, we ended up at one of our favorite dispersed campsites way out in the middle of nowhere. A big open space meant lots of fun for Thor who got to run around with the zoomies, play fetch, and act as stoic camp guard dog.

Thor the camp guardian
Thor the camp guardian

Even puppies get new camp gear, and this time he was enjoying his new Ruffwear bed. Look at that space! He loved having a soft spot to get out of the dirt, and I loved how packable it is, rolling up into a nice compact roll with built in handle and velcro straps.

Thor on his Mt Bachelor Ruffwear bed
Thor on his Mt Bachelor Ruffwear bed

One of the reasons this is a favorite campsite is this morning view. A holiday weekend but not a soul in sight.

Campsite view in the morning
Campsite view in the morning

For his final first camping trip adventure, we stopped at Tioga Pass on the way home and let him walk on the snow. He didn’t care one bit.

Thor in the snow
Thor in the snow

Overall, Thor did great on his first trip! He got to play a bunch, swim in a creek, experience snow, meet new people, and sleep with us instead of in his crate. I think he’s already excited for his next trip!

Lots more pictures here!

Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Free range human. Mountain sports addict. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Team OmniTen and Evernote Ambassador. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +

  • http://www.100peaks.com/ 100Peaks

    Good for Thor! I just went on a weekend trip with my little guy and he didn’t fare as well. He whined the whole drive, whined while I played with my daughter, had to be leashed since there was poison oak (can’t be free of it here in Los Padres), got frightened of other off-leash dogs, and woke up barking every two hours during the night (and we slept in the car!). Perhaps if I take him somewhere more remote without poison oak, that would work better to wear him out.