Crowley Lake locals (2010 special)

Well, well, well, well, welly welly well.
 
Not exactly a club ride, but 150+ miler on any given Wednesday.  Someone needs to put in valuable dirt work time and who better than the locals?
 
Rather simple plan today, after gas we'll head up Wheeler Crest for some boulder hopping and as a light warm up to the rest of the day.  I figure we'll be up and down in 1/2 hour, looking back it took almost 2.5 hours.  To get to Wheeler you first must ride up Sand Canyon, a fairly easy and fun route.
 
Gasing up at the Crowley store.  This place is a dual sport mecca for those who know how to get there.  Plenty of coffee, baked goods, pizza, and other stuff all available for purchase.
 
 
From Crowley Lake we head over to Tom's Place about 4 miles away and take a mixture of street and pavement. 
 
 
Heading up Sand Canyon.  Sand Canyon has a lot more going on, but we're saving the pictures for later.
 
 
At the top of Sand Canyon looking up Rock Creek Canyon and the headwaters of Rock Creek.  If you haven't been camping up in Rock Creek then you don't know.
 
 
Small meadow on bench above Rock Creek canyon. 
 
 
Here's our turn off, from here on up the trail gets to be a challenge.  I was almost rejected twice on the next leg.  Thought it would be easy compared to some trails in Death Valley, but it wasn't.  Lots of exposed granite boulders, step ups, switch backs, and interesting paths - sometimes not by choice.
 
 
Nice to get a photo of a sign which explains some OHV history behind the route.  Sometimes signs disappear in an attempt to re-write history.  But looky looky here, green sticker monies have helped keep a road open.  Just last year congress turned everything on this ride into wilderness, except for the road itself.  It was "cherry stemmed" in.
 
 
Lake view and taking a breather from the rocks.
 
 
 
 
At Wheeler Crest and looking over and down, Paradise, 395, Pleasant Valley reservoir in the distance.
 
 
Felt like being in an airplane.  Must have been about 6,500 foot drop-off here.
 
 
Taking a break on a sandy sidehill, a co-worker had a great story about a truck over the edge here.
 
 
Now before this vista, I must admit that I quit the sidehill, too many rutted climbs, exposure to rocks, and the xr400 was gasping for air.  One last try, and made it, barely.
 
 
An easy finish.
 
 
Mount Tom, and views beyond to Bishop Creek drainage.
 
 
Down there is the community of Rovanna.  Behind them are the Tungsten Hills, plenty of fun singletrack in there if you can find it.
 
 
 
 
This section of trail was tough for the old xr with heavy wear on the tires.  The powdery dirt almost made me give up the ghost. 
 
 
 
 
Looky here, some legal singletrack.  Honestly, if everyone knew about it, it probably wouldn't be legal.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Show me a motorized route with less impact on the land than this one, and... I'll ride it. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Long road ahead to Brown's Town and some beer.
 
 
Can't figure it out but the folks who run this private campground are always happy to see us and always buy us popcorn!  On the other hand, Inyo Recreation in Mammoth (meaning Shady Rest and Pine Glen) give out free chips off their shoulders.
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