Sunday, May 11, 2008

An Eastern Sierras Weekend

Originally posted on May 28, 2007 on "Cookin' With Cyndi"

Site 129 - East Fork Campground

Since I hadn't used any optional leave yet this year, I took Friday off and turned Memorial Day weekend into a 4-day weekend. We left Thursday afternoon for a 6-hour drive up the 395 to East Fork Campground on Rock Creek, about 25 miles northwest of Bishop. In the past, we'd always driven past Rock Creek on our way to June Lake or beyond, but had heard about how nice this canyon was and decided to give it a try. Our campsite was in a great location - no neighbors to one side since there was a loop road there, and it faced the creek. As we were trying to get our trailer set up in what was supposed to be a long site, we were informed that the website was wrong and we were really in a short site. Duh. But since we were already unhooked and the jacks were down, we decided to stay. It was a good decision. We had a great view, quiet neighbors, and a very short (20 yards) walk to the creek.

"I'm going to go try something out - I'll be back in a minute." (These "minutes" always turned into half hours or more, usually because he loses track of time when there's a rod in his hand.)

Nice little native brown trout. He'd tried for two days to get one. While he was on the lake, he must have caught several dozen rainbows, but he said this little brown was worth more than all those rainbows, since it was caught in the creek.

Rock Creek Lake - such wonderful scenery.

Don spent two long days out on the lake in his float tube. He's still taking the vicodin for the arthritis in his shoulder, but insists it was worth it!

I like to take a photo out the back window of our trailer everywhere we camp. This one looks up the canyon to the south.

Campground Review - East Fork Campground, Rock Creek Canyon, Inyo National Forest,

Address: 4 miles south of Highway 395 on Upper Rock Creek road
Phone: NA
Website: NA
To make a reservation: www.recreation.gov
Rates: $18.00/night

General Information:
# Sites: 133 (22 are for tents only)
# Sites with hookups: 0
Dump station: There is a dump station approximately 1/4 mile from Highway 395 on the left (east) side of Upper Rock Creek Road. It is free if you have a campsite at any of the Rock Creek campgrounds; otherwise, they request a $5 donation.
Size of sites: These vary from tent sites only to short, medium, and long. We saw several very large motorhomes, and the website says that some of the sites are 42 feet long. Ours was supposed to be a long site, according to the website, but it was almost too small for our 28' trailer and truck. After we were unhooked and set up, we were told that the website was wrong, and our site was really meant for very short (truck camper/class B) RVs. But we were already in, so we stayed put.
Office hours: At least 5 sets of camp hosts; available all hours.
Interstate access: No.
On site staff? Friendly, helpful? : We met 3 different camp hosts; all were quite personable. One of them makes little wood and bead hanging souvenirs which she gives away (unless you want to donate a little to help her defray the costs - I did.)

Noise info: Upper Rock Creek Road is a busy road on a holiday weekend, but the sound of the cars above really wasn't that bothersome. The creek meanders here, so we didn't have the sound of a rushing, fast creek that we like.

Restrooms: Yes, with clean flush toilets, sinks with running water, and heaters to keep them warm at night.
Showers: No
Pool: No
WiFi: No
Cell phone reception (I have Cingular): No reception in this canyon.
Laundry: No
Store: Closest stores are up at Rock Creek Lodge and Rock Creek Lakes Resort. I visited the latter, which has a small cafe, books, maps, shirts, hats, souvenirs, camping supplies, fishing supplies, ice, and snacks.

Notes for future reservations: Even on a holiday weekend, the campground was not full, nor were any of the other Rock Creek campgrounds, except for the one at the lake. The one at the lake, however, is more like a parking lot, with lots of car traffic. If you come on Monday-Thursday, you can get your choice of spots.

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