Re: Cerro Gordo questions

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Posted by Trevor Tarr on August 12, 2003 at 19:38:14:

In Reply to: Re: Cerro Gordo question -s posted by Visitor on August 12, 2003 at 15:00:16:

I did the Swansea-to-Cerro Gordo road July 25, and spent that night in the Belshaw House in Cerro Gordo. The trail was in relatively good shape, but we did encounter some scary weather, including big hail. And got scared off the New York Buttes by approaching lightening. Although we left via San Lucas Canyon, John and Roxie did say the Yellow Grade road was back in business (at least then ... more weather came in after we left).

Here's my three-day itinerary, which worked perfectly: we drove from L.A. up to Lone Pine after work Thursday and spent the night at the Dow Villa after a swim and soak in their Sierra-view pool and jacuzzi.

Friday morning, after a hearty breakfast and local color at BJ's Bake and Broil, we crossed Owens Valley and ascended from the mining settlement of Swansea into the Inyo Mountains. We passed the 9,500-foot-elevation Burgess Mine, hiked to a picnic lunch atop the New York Buttes, and inspected remains of the remarkable World War I-era salt tram. For a detailed description of the trail, with lots of pictures and history, see We finished the day with a feast at Cerro Gordo's restored Belshaw House, complete with kitchen, civilized beds, a flush toilet and shower.

Saturday we continued eastward over the Inyos and into San Lucas Canyon, route of the original precarious (and now washed-out) road into Saline Valley. We crossed through the Joshua Tree forest of Santa Rosa Flat, and descended back into the Owens Valley, heading north to the Inyo County seat in Independence in time for dinner at the Still Life Cafe, a charmingly out-of-place French bistro run by Basque gypsies. We slept snuggly at the historic Winnedumah Hotel bed and breakfast.

Sunday we explored Independence, including the town's fascinating Eastern California Museum, focused on local mining history, the World War II Manzanar Japanese internment camp, and the battle with Los Angeles for Owens Lake water. Before heading home, we drove up to the Onion Valley trailhead for a picnic and to see the eastward-facing counterpart of Friday's spectacular views.

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