Previously: Simon, his 88-year-old brother and two children drive into the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains to hike. After Thayer has a bout of dehydration, they make new decisions about where/ what to see.

3:30 PM As we explore and take pictures of historic Bodie, the mostly intact ghost of a gold mining town, I see the sparkle has returned to Thayer’s eyes.

Thayer and Simon explore the twin two-man mine elevators, steam winch and boiler.

Thayer and Simon explore the twin two-man mine elevators, steam winch and boiler.

Using his two trekking poles to walk, there’s a lift in his step… it’s almost like he’s saying,

“See, I could have walked that trail OK!”

But, if he had that thought in his head, he kept it to himself.

On the way in to Bodie Historic Park Thayer had talked about the old cemetery, and how they had a separate burial plot for the infamous bad guys.

We thought we’d like to see names and dates on the stones. After we finished exploring the town, we headed back to the car. However, by then Thayer decided he was tired and would not be able to take in the cemetery. It was up a small road where cars were not allowed. The rest of us nodded to each other, agreeing to skip the burial place.

Once again, we drove along. Consulting maps, we decided to head down the east side of the Sierras and go through Yosemite from what we considered the “back door.” On the way, we drove past Mono Lake. In its center was the large island, where Thayer said (back in the 1950’s) some animals were threatened by new predators as the water level dropped dangerously low.

I did not immediately see the salt and mineral deposits (and in some cases, pillars), I had seen in years past. But, as we drove farther south, the sparkling mineral deposits came into view, striking in their glowing whiteness. Fed by melting snow, Mono is land-locked and dissolved minerals in the water have no outlet. They collect and form tufa.

Mono Lake with white tufa.

Mono Lake with white tufa.

Simon Stargazer III (Aug ‘15) adds, “The kids and I had discussed what else to visit if Thayer’s age got the best of his hiking desires. The list included Yosemite, Napa Valley, San Francisco and seeing the ‘Big Trees’ of the Redwood and Sequoia Forests, near the West Coast.”

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