Home…finally

That's my new hood, across Gull Lake!
That’s my new hood, across Gull Lake!

It’s been quite the journey getting here to my new home. On the eve of my 4th week in the Eastern Sierras, I figure it’s hi-time I reflect on the past couple months. After I left Arizona, I hid out in Colorado Springs with my family as I bought time, searching for an apartment in California. I almost ended up in Colorado working for a Rocky Mountain National Park affiliate, but I had to turn down the job for my current gig. It wasn’t an easy decision but now that I’m here, I can’t believe I deliberated and agonized as much as I did. I knew I’d go where the next JOB (not internship) took me and I had over 25 applications out all over the west. Although I cherish my experiences in Montana and Arizona, I am ready to be in one place, for a while at least. I am not an intern anymore, rather I’m coordinating an entire interagency visitor center for the Mono Basin. No, I don’t get to wear a USFS uniform, nor a NPS one, nope not a State Parks uniform either… I’m in the private sector which is where I feel I belong anyways. We are changing our name soon, so it’s barely even worth mentioning that I work for the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association. The past 9 months of interning, not to mention my entire design career, led me to the conclusion that I need a job with variety. Building and implementing an interpretive program schedule (including campfire talks!), maintaining exhibits, conducting tours, working the busy front desk and all kinds of random admin are just a few of my many tasks. My commute to work is like a dream, I pass maybe 10 cars and get to see mountains all around me – I sometimes forget where I am or where I’m going, it’s so mesmerizing. I’m happy, 24-7. Of course some things set me off (like the gas prices), I’m only human, but I have never felt this happy and at peace and at home (so quickly) before in my life.

Snow?! at the driveway to my work.
Snow?! at the driveway to my work.

My happy place.
My happy place.
The office behind the office.
The office behind the office.
The trail in my backyard that goes around the lake.
The trail in my backyard that goes around the lake.

The town I live in has a population of maybe 625 people, there are wooden street signs, bear proof garbage bins, no stop lights and this gorgeous, shimmering Gull Lake that I get to wake up to every single morning. I’d say that it is always peacefully, blissfully quiet but honestly, I’ve never lived in a noisier building before in my life. I can even hear the people cough down below. But I have a killer view and hard wood floors and a powerful shower head. You can’t have it all. I live 30 miles from the east gate to Yosemite and 20 miles from Mammoth. There is so much to do here that I can barely decide how to spend my days off. Just today I went to Yosemite for the first time and did a day hike, BECAUSE I CAN! I’ve been to hot springs, alpine lakes, a haunted lodge, the best pizza place ever, the brewery (my other home), a crater and tufa groves. Getting out of Los Angeles was the best thing for me, but I didn’t know it at the time. I was stuck there in so many ways. Guiltily, I would glorify it, find excuses to stay and constantly stick up for it in my mind. ‘It’s not so bad, but my friends are here, just look at my cute little house, I can’t possibly leave’… But it had been ten years and time for a change, not just a career but a life change. I don’t miss LA at all, just my friends I miss. And a palm tree every now and then. And sometimes the accessibility of it all, everything is so easy and much cheaper.

Fishmas is a real thing. The town goes nuts for fishing opener and suddenly the streets and campgrounds are filled with men in weird pants.
Fishmas is a real thing. The town goes nuts for fishing opener and suddenly the streets and campgrounds are filled with men in weird pants.
JLB = my other home
JLB = my other home

I’ve made a lot of friends here already, compared to the two I made in Arizona, and know so many people in passing. The summer is just getting going so all the businesses are opening up. I meet someone new nearly every day and just randomly introduce myself to people that work in the shops, post office, bars, gas station, yoga class, you name it. But I don’t know where I’d be without Richie, he has shown me so much in such a short period of time and I met the entire town, it seems, because of him. He’s like the unofficial town mayor and welcome committee, all in one. The kindest, most generous person and he has an awesome dog.

Richie and Dude dog
Richie and Dude dog
At Barney Lake
At Barney Lake
Gorgeous Travertine Hot Springs!
Gorgeous Travertine Hot Springs!
Lee Vining Creek
Lee Vining Creek

I am madly in love with California again and so happy to be here to share the love with visitors! Everyday is an adventure, not because I’m doing some epic hike or getting naked in a hot spring. I just go to work and come home and that is an adventure in itself. The visitors, my co-workers and the job I do – it doesn’t feel like work, it’s like a mini-adventure. For example, I got an off-road tour of the basin the other day. We just got in the truck and went nearly all around Mono Lake. Just checking things out, making sure no one was up to any Santeria or that the wild horses were behaving. I have a ton to learn still, so that helps the adventure quotient too. I not only need to know about this area, but Yosemite, Bodie ghost town, Death Valley, Mt Whitney/Lone Pine, Bristlecone Pine and everything in between. A hard job but an absolute joy!

Mono Basin and Lake
Mono Basin and Lake
Parker Lake
Parker Lake
Obsidian that could cut a bitch at Panum Crater.
Obsidian that could cut a bitch at Panum Crater.
My first sight of Half Dome from Olmsted Point!
My first sight of Half Dome from Olmsted Point!
Tenaya Creek feeding into Cathedral Lake.
Tenaya Creek feeding into Cathedral Lake.
Beautiful Cathedral Lake, on sourdough.
Beautiful Cathedral Lake, on sourdough.
I just love this baby tree, growing in the crack of the rock!
I just love this baby tree, growing in the crack of the rock!
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14 thoughts on “Home…finally

  1. Jenny: You are not going to believe this, me and Mat Kelliher were talking about you two weeks ago. I thought you were leading inner city hikes (I thought, that’s what you wanted to do). However i am so glad and happy for you. I guess we will have to go pay a visit to you.
    If you remember me, i am not short on comments (always comments happy). Here they are.
    1. Hell there are 625 people live on my st.
    2. I know you don’t miss LA (who does), however we do miss you.
    3. When we came to visit you, would be called visitors or hiking buddies?
    4. You have to explain, what the heck this means “Obsidian that could cut a bitch at Panum Crater”.
    5. Last but not least “getting naked in a hot spring”, i have to see it to believe it. Ha! Ha!
    6. BTW are you climbing any trees?

    1. Wasim!!!!! Come and visit me! You would definitely be a hiking buddy and not a ‘visitor’!!! Then I can explain everything. But only until you visit me.

    2. Good to hear from you and that you are living and enjoying life. I will defenitley visit and hike with you. You are totally awesome.

      I left CA. On Aug 1, for Costa Rica for jungle/rain forest hiking, zip lining, rafting, repelling, Bunji jumping, and rope climbing.

      Aug 25, I left for Peru, will be doing the Inca trail (Machu Picchu). Aug 25, I will start Huayhuash circuit for 13 days, and on Sep. 17 back to Ca. Rest is fine.

      1. Hope you are doing fine.
        Just completed Lars track to Macha Pichu. It is a trip of life time. Took boat trip to Amazon and the jungle trekking. Got to see lots of tree and wild life. Now in Lima and going to start a new 12 days trek to marrow.
        Rest is fine.

  2. Hope you are doing well.

    I left California on Aug first to Costa Rica. Did some jungle trekking, zip-lining, rapelling, free fall, tree climbing, rafting (class iii-iv). Also made sugar from sugar cane, coffee from coffee beans, cheese from fresh cow milk, fresh bread, etc. Arenal Volcano hike, hot spring, beach walking, hanging bridges in national forest, and etc. Aug 25, left for Peru and did Lars trail trek to Macchu Pichue, Inka trail, etc. Hiked Sun gate, and Inka bridge. Will be going to Amazon tomorrow. After that a 12 days trekking trip in the jungle of Peru. Rest is fine.

  3. Jenny, I’m in awe of how many adventures and all the growth and happiness you’ve found since leaving LA! I loved reading this and seeing you happy in your journey. It looks so beautiful!!!

  4. Hope you are doing real well. Where the heck have you been. I emailed you three times, drove through your neighborhood twice (on my way to Lake Tahoe). Hoping to connect with you for the tour of the visitor center and the neighborhood. Asked Mat, if he has heard from you. Jenny was completely AWOL.

    1. Wasim!!!! I’m here in June Lake! I don’t know what email you are using but my yahoo one is spammed out and I never use it. Not AWOL.

      1. So, is this the best way to communicate with you? Hope all is well. Now it is time for my story, here it is.

        On Sunday, May 15, after hiked the “Heald Peak” (near Lake Isabella). While coming down, i slipped on a boulder, my left ankle got twisted and got jammed under my hip. Right away i knew something broke. I had to hike for 9 hours (mostly on my butt) with up and down (2500′ & 2.5 miles) on boulder, scree, rock, to get back to the car by 11:30PM. Bill Simpson drove my car to the Emergency room, got there about 3:00 AM. X-ray showed a broken Left FIBULA (Ankle joint includes two bones, the tibia & the fibula, that form a joint that allows the foot to bend up & down). They put a soft cast, & gave me crutches. Drove back to my home @ 8:00 AM. I had to see the Orthopedic surgeon. It took 5 days to go through the insurance paper work to get an appointment with the surgeon. Another 6 days to get the paper work completed before the actual surgery. Had to take EKG, Blood/Urine test.

        On May 26, i had the surgery (5 inches long incision, metal plate & 5 screws). I am suppose to keep my foot elevated at all. Getting around on the crutches is harder than I anticipated. They gave me the pain medicine. However i cannot take Codine or Vidacin (get a very bad allergic reaction). That is why i am enduring such a severe pain. I have never felt such an excruciating pain before. Don’t know how long i will be on the cast. My next evaluation with the doctor is on June 9. I am keeping my fingers cross, hoping this will be over soon. Cannot wait to get back to the hiking again.

        Wasim Khan

      2. Oh my god Wasim! That sounds horrible and crazy. I hope you heal quickly. That’s my biggest fear, getting hurt like that alone and far away. Get well soon so you can get back to hiking. I’m going on my first backpack next month but only an overnighter. Nothing crazy, yet. Just been car camping and hiking the Eastern Sierra. Take care of yourself.

      3. Hope you are doing well. Good to hear that you are fine, and having a great time. Three weeks ago the “hard cast was taken out and been fitted with a special boot (Cam Boot). Now i can put some weight on my foot. Also started to go to the gym, to gain back my lost muscle and cardio vascular stamina. Two weeks ago, started “Physical Therapy”, it is helping to reduce the pain and swelling (which i still have). May be by mid August, i will try a local easy “trail hike” (keeping my finger cross). Rest is fine, and please stay in touch. BTW i love reading your dairies, you are an excellent writer. Might want to think writing a book later on.

        Thanks for sharing your adventures, even though it pains me to know that i am not able to do what i always loved doing (i.e hiking, trekking, & climbing).

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