Bridget and Spike are asleep in the PTV.
We’re parked behind a motel in Lone Pine for the internet connection. Maybe I’ll be able to finish what I started yesterday, that is, our arrival at the Alabama Hills . .
I drive up Whitney Portal Road and take the righthand turn onto Movie Road.
This is all public land (BLM and free for camping). It’s a Sunday so people are driving around looking for the locations of famous movie scenes. I continue driving until the road turns to dirt. I can see a few campers tucked alongside huge piles of boulders. I continue on. I don’t want neighbors.
I’m about to give up when I come upon what looks like a good spot.
The ground is level, there’s clear roaming room for the crew, no one’s around, and the view of the mountains is spectacular. Up drives the BLM Ranger in his white truck. Where the heck did he come from? He must’ve followed me.
I walk over to his truck with my best smile.
“Hi! Is this place okay for camping?”
A car drives up, parks, and four people get out. Then another car drives up.
“Well, maybe this isn’t such a great spot,” I remark to the ranger, “if a lot of people are going to be stopping here.”
“Oh, they’re here because I’m here.”
One of the people comes over and asks the ranger some questions while I take stock of the situation. The other car turns around and leaves. The four people walk around the BLT and start hiking up toward the boulders behind “our campsite.” Uh-oh. People like to turn around here. People like to hike here.
This will not do.
The ranger wishes me well and drives off. I get back in the PTV and return the way we came. The day begins to seem long. I’m ready to stop somewhere and relax, walk the crew, eat an early supper. I find a side road that has a turn-out. This will be fine.
I walk up the road with Bridget and Spike. The road is coarse sand which must be pleasant underneath their paws. Spike is excited and trots way ahead of us. Bridget stays by my side. She’s walking on all fours with only a slight limp. This sand is good exercise for her without being tiring, the way fine sand is.
At bedtime I pull up the blinds on the BLT’s three big windows.
Our campsite is elevated enough that, lying in bed with the crew, I can see stars to my left, stars at my feet, and stars above my bed to the right. I look up at the half-moon and soak up the silence.
Yes, it’s good to be back in the desert again.
P.S. It looks like a storm is blowing in! We’re going back to camp!