The Mountains are Calling and I must go back to Grandview Campground
There’s something about mountain air that smells so right. A hike through California’s Inyo National Forest is always a pleasant reminder that somewhere in my soul, I am home. It’s a sacred place where the bluest, clearest skies marry snow-capped summits dotted in ponds of green. It’s a place where only the sound of the wind and the rustle of tree’s leaves in its presence are audible.
“There’s something about mountain air that smells so right.”
At 8,600’ in elevation, Grandview campground is situated a convenient five miles from Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and about eighteen miles east from the US-395. It is a twenty-three-site campground located within the White Mountains with stellar views of the Eastern Sierras. Upon early arrival, the morning sun was already warming the thinner air when we pitched our tent nestling it between two picnic tables, a fire pit, and several trees. I insisted we pitch it directly in the sun, as I knew the evening temps were going to drop significantly. We were surrounded by ample shade and conveniently located near two vault toilets.
Sanitation Sans Agua
Wet ones or some variation of antibacterial supplies will become your best friend at Grandview Campground. Also, ditch the makeup unless you pack makeup remover – it’s not worth it. As dirty and dusty as you’ll get, the last thing you’ll need is hours old makeup invading your eyeballs or clogging your pores. I must emphasize how wonderful and low maintenance it was to spend my weekend sans makeup. Also, sunscreen and sunglasses are a necessity if that isn’t already obvious – I ended up wrapping my head in a scarf to block the sun from my slightly burnt forehead.
And if I may brag about how quickly and effortlessly we pitched said tent this time around? Hammering in the stakes was such a joy for me, perhaps releasing some pent up aggression from the previous workweek. It made me excited for the next time we pitch the tent! I probably should have prefaced this paragraph with how difficult a task it has been for me in the past. Granted, the time before last, I was racing daylight on an empty, agitated stomach.
Roughing it in Isolation
I couldn’t quite figure out why this campground didn’t see much traffic. I thought for sure that the place would fill up, but I was wrong. The most logical explanation I could come up with was the lack of water or hookups for RVs. Grandview Campground is for the true nature lover – the ones who wish to rough it so to speak. And rough it was exactly what we did, especially after realizing the tube to blow up my mattress had mistakenly been left at home.
I wasn’t complaining about the campground’s seclusion, however. In fact, I was grateful as it made for an even more intimate experience between nature and myself. My usual anxiety subsided in the tranquility. I found myself being okay with simply lounging back in my lawn chair, admiring my companion’s concerted efforts at starting a campfire. As the sun made its daily departure, the sky put on a dazzling private show. I never tire of Mother Nature’s endless deliverance of awe and beauty.
Oh, What a Cold Night
The night proved to be very cold – about thirty-one degrees. It was so cold that three layers of tops including a thermal, two pairs of socks including a wool pair, two layers of pants, and a scarf didn’t keep me completely warm. Tucking my head into my sleeping bag and zipping it up all the way, however, helped, tremendously. It should be taken into account that I’m slightly anemic, so I’m always colder than most of my company.
The following morning, we awoke early to pack away the camp as a visit to Manzanar was on the itinerary. Prior to leaving Grandview, though, we took a walk around the campsite to stake out our next spot for when we return at a later date. We ran into a fellow camper en route to the facilities, toilet paper in tow. A good morning was bid. An older couple with a golden retriever departed by car, smiling and waving as they slowly passed us on the rocky, dirt road. After about half a mile round trip, the small collection of a bit of sage, and a few dozen pictures, we were ready to say, “see ya later,” to Grandview Campground.
American naturalist, author, and environmental philosopher, John Muir, once famously wrote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” I often find myself asking why I ever leave.