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Our Yearly Vacation Favorite at Convict Lake, CA
Family Vacation Spot at Convict Lake
There is a locale that has a special place in our family's hearts. A tucked away blue lake surrounded by high, very high stone mountains, not many trees. Twice a day you witness a line of horseback riders going up one side of the lake. That is a hint of things hidden even further into the stony mountains, but you are probably just at the side of the lake with your fishing pole.
The lake is dark blue and cold, so swimming is not an option, except for the hardy. Trout can be snatched if you work it just right, pan fried later in the iron skillet on the Coleman stove in butter, garlic and onion. There are favorite spots called the swimming hole, the cliffs, the store, and the bridge.
As the children get older they have to tell their friends about this place. They take off and go without me. Renewing the soothing activities again with new hearts that also find a place in them for Convict Lake, so named for a shootout in 1871. Guns blazing and the outcome not so sweet as camping.
Whoooa! Wake up you are sitting at your computer. Oh, but I want to be back at Convict Lake. I am even thinking of not using the name as a keyword because it is My place.
Where is Convict Lake
Convict Lake is in the eastern Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada mountains run up the eastern side of California for more than four hundred miles. The drive is 325 miles from our house and it is the high desert and hot. The temperature is always in the 90's so air conditioning in your vehicle is a plus. In later years we had a trailer and the trip took about six hours. Half the highway was twoway most of the trip. It is gradually getting widen to a split four lane highway. You can reach Convict Lake by Hwy 395.
Getting there offers views of high desert wilderness, small towns and sparsely populated wide open spaces. Something that just baffles me because I live in greater southern California home of millions. L.A. is 10 million alone with sprawl of hundreds of miles. I envy anyone who lives in the rural world.
So as our family was growing, nearly every year during the summer months, we took a vacation to the Mammoth area. I had known this area because I went skiing there several times, but my husband introduced the eastern Sierra to me in the summer.
He was a fisherman and had been there many times already. Above, the fisherman making his flies at the evening camp table at Convict Lake near the town of Mammoth Lakes.
Located in California
For the geology buff or student the Mammoth area is loaded with hot spots and interesting volcanic formations. The mountains behind the lake were carved by glaciers the arms of the ice reaching toward Hwy 395. As they receded they left moraines the formations that look like flows. The road climbs through these hills to get to the base of the lake, road's end, to an elevation of 7,580 ft.
You can also see Convict Creek along which the campground is situated. Read more about the moraines at Convict Lake Moraines
Directly across the Hwy is Mammoth Airport which only accepts small planes. Further north you can see the Long Caldera. Hot Creek or Whitmore Hot Springs are located there.
Behind the lake is the John Muir Wilderness Area. Looking on a map, note all the dots, high mountain alpine lakes. The first set of Lakes about 2,000 ft. above Convict are Dorothy, Edith, Mildred and Constance Lakes. Go deeper into the wilderness area you find Tully Hole, Bloody Mtn, Brave Lake, Lake of the Lone Indian, Graveyard Lakes and Devil's Bathtub. Going deeper in the wilderness the lakes get ominous names.
I have never been there.
Sunrise at the Campground
A Few of Our Old PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Have You Been to Convict Lake? - Stormy Day 1987
Photo by Ed Venegas. Digitally enhanced by Sherry
Have you been to Convict Lake?
Convict Lake 1972
The tall tree at the foot of the lake is still standing.
Photo by Edward Venegas
Link List and related information
Convict Lake in 2013Click thumbnail to view full-size
I have our week reserved for 2014. I will have digital photos just for this lens. Come back and see 2014 photos in August.
ps. In 2013 the campsites were open for first come the third week of August. The school year starting in August is different than when my kids were in school.
© 2009 Sherry Venegas