An Ethel Among Mermans (thornwolf) wrote,
An Ethel Among Mermans
thornwolf

California Adventure Pt. 1 - Whitney Portal, Manzanar Internment Camp and the White Mountains

Told you guys I'd take pics, so here's a few. It was a long trip and we saw a lot in the 1k or so miles we traveled, so I'm going to break it up into parts. I always feel weird doing this because it feels like I'm sitting you all in a room and making you watch slides of my vacation but at least in this case you can escape. And at least I'm not wearing black socks with sandals. But some of you seem to like it, so yay :) At least I finally get to use this icon westly_roanoke made me ages ago.

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First we stopped at Whitney Portal, which is the road you take through Joshua Tree-esque territory (meaning the rock type, there are sadly no Joshua trees) and then suddenly, BAM! There's a mountain in your face and everything's turned to pine trees.
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Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the continental United States, at 14,505 feet. Yet another thing Californians get to claim :D (We also have Death Valley, which is the lowest point in North America at -282 feet. Even more awesome is the two points are just 85 miles away from each other). I just LOVE extremes like this. Unfortunately the photos just can't show the scale of this thing. I was seriously craning my neck to an uncomfortable level to see as much of it as I could.
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There was also a waterfall running right next to the visitor's center. Its actually a lot steeper (and a lot colder!) than the photos let on.
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There's a giant boulder at the base of Whitney Portal that people like to paint faces on due to its shape. Normally I get really bugged when people vandalize rocks (cuz its not like you can paint over it, its a rock!) but this is the only one people touch. Its been repainted since skorzy's last visit. I like this face better than the previous "lady face" with lips and eyelashes.
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Next, we went to Manzanar, the site of the Japanese Internment Camp. Its one of those things you don't really comprehend until you're there in a "Yes, this actually happened" sort of way, especially since its one of those things that was just glossed over in history class as more of a "whoops, our bad". There's a museum now, and they're rebuilding some of the barracks for display purposes, but most of what's left is just foundations, plotted out sites, and a guard tower. And of course, the cemetery.
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According to wikipedia, the front says "Soul Consoling Tower" and the back says "Erected by the Manzanar Japanese - August 1943"

The thing that really got me about the museum was the fact that they had a gift shop. Its one thing to sell books and educational materials on the camp itself and that general historical event, but this gift shop had "Sushi for two" dish sets, handbags with pictures of sushi and geishas on them, and cutesie Japanese crap you're more likely to see at Epcot than a historical site. I didn't look further to see if they had Pocky and Pokemon (though honestly I would have been surprised if it wasn't there, yes, it was that bad) but I just felt a lot of it was in poor taste.

After lunch in Lone Pine (Uncle Bud's Pizza has some VERY lovingly made sub sandwiches, SO GOOD!), we drove on to our camp site in the Grandview Campground in the White Mountains. skorzy did this trip 2 years ago and he had a huge camp site with no neighbors, so we were hoping for that one. Out of 30 camp sites, there was no one there, but when we went to his previous site, there was only one other person in the whole camp and of course they chose that site XD We found a perfectly acceptable one though. Yes this is all one camp site, they're HUGE and secluded :D
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The whole time we were there only a few other campers came into the area but they were all very quiet and respectful. Because the people who come here are mostly backpackers and nature lovers who come to see the bristlecones and there's not really a "kid friendly activity", you don't get the families with their stupid Cruise America campers coming out and blaring their generators and radios. Plus its mid week and the kids are in school. This was quite possibly the most enjoyable camp site I've ever been in :)

Folks who were there for 9/11 left a flag, so we've made it our official camp flag.
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Yes I brought my sketchbook, and yes there will be silly doodles posted later. Nananananananana BAT DORK!
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Did some star gazing later that night. I've never seen the moons of Jupiter before (I honestly never thought to look) but I got a lesson in visible stars and planets, which was very awesome.
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More to come!
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