The southern access to the Coyote Flats meanders from Big Pine to the south end of the Flats near the Sugarloaf peak. The section near the summit had become almost impassable due to the combined wear and tear of Mother Nature, OHV activity and the cattle drives. The Eastern Sierra 4WD Club spent two days in September 2013 making repairs to the road to again provide access. This road is one of only two motorized means to get to this beautiful area. The area is utilized as summer grazing by the cattle ranchers, trail heads for hikers and bikers, OHV exploration, photographers and nature lovers. It is a great place to see the wonders of Mother Nature.
Despite our mass confusion last year the organizers asked us back, and even requested that we handle two aid stations. Both stations are remotely located in the Buttermilk area and the "Overlook" location requires a capable 4x4 to gain access.
Several of us went up Friday night and camped at the McGee Creek location- John and Maureen McVicker, Sherrie and Dillon Skare, Mike and DeEtte. We had so much fun that we decided to camp there Sat. night also (although it was 32 degrees each night).
Saturday morning we were joined by Raul and Debbie, while Greg Weirick and Jim Nelligan went up to establish the Overlook aid station.
Jim and Greg were just a two man show and handled all the ham radio communications, runner tracking, food and beverages. They had approximately 170 runners (or walkers) go through their station.
The McGee Creek group aided approximately 225 participants as they went up the mountain and about 220 as they came back down. A few dropped out but we did not lose anybody. Depending on their turn around point, most of the returning runners had traveled over 37 miles and really appreciated our aid station. Actually, they appreciated all the aid stations.
This event is a great fundraiser for our hospital although this may be the last year. The organizer is retiring and they are looking for somebody new.
Many of our club members also helped the ham radio club at other aid stations: John Patzer, Dennis Clark, George Johnston, John Shepherd and Mary Oltmans.
Hope you enjoyed the photos of the McGee station, campsite and library. The library did not have any reading materials but it did have a great mural. Click here to see the local article and the winners of the various categories.
Alabama Hills Day - April 2013
Several Eastern Sierra 4WD Club members attended this year's Alabama Hills Day and some also participated in the "Stewardship Restoration Project". Debby and Raul Hildago, Mike and DeEtte Johnston joined the BLM, the Stewardship Group and the Friends of the Inyo in a combination hike and restoration project. We got a guided hiking tour from the BLM with information on the formation and preservation of the Alabama Hills area. After about a mile hike (seemed like three miles to me) we found an area where some vehicles had wandered off the road. We selected our weapons of mass destruction and dug in (see photos below). After removing the vehicle tracks we continued our hike and took another route on our return to the vehicles.
After lunch we went down to Lone Pine to visit with the exhibitors at the "Convention Center". Yes it is true, Lone Pine has their own convention center. It was a great chance to visit with many other organizations that also appreciate the great outdoors.
It was a fun day and is highly recommended for next year.
Helping erase the traces of unauthorized vehicle travel.
Bishop Ultra Marathon - May 2012
Our club was responsible for the aid station called "McGee Creek" at an elevation of 7900 ft. There were approximately 260 runners registered and they started from Mill Pond at 6 a.m. on Sat. morning 5/19. Our preparation started on Thur. 5/17 when Mike Johnston and Greg Weirick filled ice chests at Manor Market. On Fri. Mike, John McVicker and Greg packed up a truck load of supplies for our station (food, water containers, table, awning etc.). Fri. evening the advance crew (Sherrie, DeEtte and Mike) headed for Buttermilk to camp for the night and get an early start on the set up. About 7:30 Sat. morning the remaining crew members arrived: Kurt, John and Maureen, Robin and Elliot Hastie, and Greg. Also, the Ham radio operators for our station were two more club members, Jim Nelligan and Phil Hartz. At this point the proposed aid station became either a circus, a Chinese fire drill, or a group of four wheel drive enthusiast trying to set up an aid station for marathon runners. After much confusion, direction and misdirection we had assemble something that looked like it might resemble an aid station. Our theme of patriotism was very apparent with all the decorations and flags (thank you Sherrie). About 8:15 the first runner arrived and we were ready!
Eager to be of assistance we tried to help we tried to help with anything we could (what do we know about running a marathon?-nothing). Whenever they asked any question, such as "where is my turn around point", we quickly supplied them with three or more separate and different answers. They could select any answer they wanted, or wait five minutes while we tried to figure out which response was correct. None of them waited. We finally determined that in fact there were several possible correct answers. We had three different groups of runners going through our station, 50 kilometer (about 30 miles), 50 mile (about 80 kilometers) and 100 kilometers (about 60 miles).. We also had some runners on their way back down the course while others were coming up. We realized that we had to know which event they were participating in, and which direction they were going, to properly answer their questions.
About 6 p.m. the last runner (walker) passed through and we were packing up. We were tired but hopefully did not look as bad the last runner. We drove down to the finish line at Mill Pond and this turned out to be a mistake. Two of the runners that Mike has given wrong answers to were waiting for him. He had told one runner that it was all down hill back to the finish line (how was he to know that it wasn't), and he had told the other runner that the "whooping" noise she had heard on the trail was probably a mountain lion (apparently it was some kind of a bird). Mike quickly justified his lies by explaining that he was a retired real estate agent and this seemed to appease the young ladies.
You have to wonder about somebody that will run (or walk) sixty miles and do this for 18 hours. But then, you have wonder about somebody that thinks it is fun to go out into the middle of no-place and try to get 4000 pounds of metal and rubber stuck in some mud and rocks. What had started as a hectic day turned out to be a lot of fun, largely because of the great people in our club! Greg is awarded the wrench for starting the day without one of our crew members.