Have to say that I didn’t like The Accidental Tourist because I would have loved to have been a travel writer, and the grumpy heroine didn’t interest me. In my experience, it’s the things you find when you are looking for something else that often provide the most thrills. Like the scene a few hundred feet in altitude above the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery at North Big Oak Creek on Sunday. Wow, huh?
So many people just drive by this whole valley on their way to Mammoth Lakes and Mono… We just love it here and find that residents are happy to sing its virtues given a chance!
Which is not to say that we weren’t duly impressed with the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery. It’s an impressive building, inside and out. The people of Independence, CA (Inyo County seat) donated the land in 1915 and it took two years to build the beautiful building. We’d never been here before because we had no idea what we were missing. It’s like an old European building.
I talked for quite a while with DeeDee, who works there. She was terrific. Found out that due to the bad economy the operations of the fish hatchery were winding down–stocking fish for sportsmen not as high a priority these days–when a fire swept through the area in 2007. The flood that followed in 2008 deposited up to four feet of mud on the grounds, sealing the hatchery’s fate. Today the place is run as an historical site. Only one breeding tank out of what must have been dozens is still in operation. You can feed the plentiful trout in the pond from vending machines for a quarter.
We decided to drive up the road toward the Sierras to just see what things looked like from up there, and wow, was it gorgeous! Wild flowers, mountains in the background, North Big Oak Creek rushing down the hillside with a lot of power. DeeDee told me that the snowpack is 760% over the usual this year. So now they have to worry about flooding again as it melts. When we turned around in the parking lot of the park in Independence we saw that the creek is right at capacity already.
There’s also a photo of Bob at the end of the slide show. He is from Eastern Oregon, down here selling California cherries. He’s done some acting. Was in a color film in 1948, when he was 5 years old. He was a towheaded little boy. He can do accents, German, Russian and Irish. He did a little Irish for me.
I bought a bucket of mixed Bing and Rainier cherries. My reward for getting better at talking to strangers.