Cabin With A View: Road Trip With Sis

cabin patio view

When my sister invited me to join her on a three-day road trip to the Eastern Sierras to try to view (and photograph) some fall foliage, I cleared the decks and packed a bag. We haven’t done a road trip together in a few years, and I looked forward to spending some time with her. (Above, view from our cabin’s porch.)

The most direct pass through the mountains to our destination was closed, so we detoured a bit north, and began seeing snow at about 7000 feet altitude. This was taken at about 8000 feet.

snow in October, high Sierras

Fall comes late to LA; our leaves are only beginning to turn, and never achieve the brilliance seen in colder climates. In the Sierras, we’d missed the peak foliage by just a few days, but there was still plenty of beautiful scenery to see and photograph.

fall foliage in the eastern Sierras

gold aspen leaves

mountain reflections

golden fall leaves and snowy mountain peaks

Sis had arranged everything, from booking the cabin to researching when the light would be best in various locations nearby. She’s a serious hobby photographer, and loves shooting landscapes especially.

We were staying not too far from Mono Lake, which was well worth a side trip to visit.

Mono Lake and eastern Sierras

Those jagged structures are called “tufas” and were originally formed under water from salts and minerals. When Los Angeles began diverting streams that fed the lake in the early 1940’s, water levels dropped drastically. Due to a legal ruling in 1994, this practice has stopped, and the level of the lake has begun to rise again. The goal is for it to reach the 1963 level, still below where it was prior to the water diversions, but those tufas may again be submerged someday.

Mono lake tufas

We also enjoyed some time just relaxing at the cabin…

relaxing at the cabin

It was cool to downright chilly at these altitudes, and I wasn’t sorry to be missing the latest heat wave in LA! On my way home today via the southern route through Bishop…

Edited to add: these are all my photos, except the ones of me, which Sis shot with my iPhone. 

Have you ever traveled to “leaf peep” in the fall?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Linda Boardman Kerr
    October 21, 2016 / 3:49 am

    Yes indeed! We live west of Chicago, and we took a trip up north, to upper Wisconsin to view the colors. We’d stopped to get some serious aged cheddar and nibbled on that and other goodies
    in some beautiful remote places.
    Speaking of fall colors, my very first Hermes scarf has autumn leaves on it. It’s still one of my favorites, and I’ve been wearing it a lot lately. I frequently wear Nar’s “Autumn Leaves” lipstick in the fall as well. Wish I could post pics of both.

  2. Jill Pontiere PO Box 560733 Orlando, Fl 32856-0733
    October 21, 2016 / 4:19 am

    How very delightful. I need to grab my Sis and road trip!

  3. nell
    October 21, 2016 / 4:38 am

    Stunning, gorgeous, soul-stirring photos of God’s creation– thanks for posting! Makes me nostalgic for the mountain West and my old stomping ground of Prescott, Arizona, among other places… Your sister is a talented photographer!

    Luckily, we don’t have to travel now to have spectacular fall color enveloping us every autumn. We live in that part of New York state, just above the Pennsylvania line, known as the “Southern Tier”. Some falls are not quite as vivid as others, but this year has been so beautiful.

    On top of that, all through October we’ve had days and days of gentle, sun-dappled, warm-days-but-with-cool-breezes that characterize my favorite season of all, the elusive but ravishing Indian summer.

    Makes up for our sometimes harsh and bullying long winters– at least that’s what I’m telling myself now…

    • Susan B
      October 21, 2016 / 7:11 am

      Hi nell, thanks! Sis IS a talented photographer, but actually these are all my photos (except the ones of me, which she took with my iPhone). I brought my cameras too and picked up some tips from her. And some of these landscape pics were shot on my iPhone too! 🙂

  4. Mary
    October 21, 2016 / 4:39 am

    I’ve been privileged to take fall trips to places such as the NE Kingdom in Vermont, upstate New York (Letchworth State Park), St Croix River Valley (MN), Shenadoah/Blue Ridge mtns (VA), Great Smoky mtns (TN and nearby NC) and various mtns areas in West Virginia. Just returned from New Mexico where we drove the Enchanted Drive (a loop around mountains nearTaos) with elevations over 10k feet. In each of these places the fall colors, morning mists lifting from valleys and crisp, bright days were treasures to remember.

    • October 21, 2016 / 7:55 am

      Love, love, love New Mexico! Glad to read you enjoyed the Enchanted Circle.

  5. October 21, 2016 / 4:55 am

    I took a tour of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York state one year. The leaves were beautiful.
    My husband and I enjoy the North Cascades National Park in October. The bright days and the golden aspens by the river are worth a visit.

  6. Barbara
    October 21, 2016 / 5:39 am

    Love the Eastern Sierras. Lucky you to be up there in the fall.
    Nice photographs. But,where are your hiking boots?

    • Susan B
      October 21, 2016 / 6:18 am

      I did wear them but after Mono Lake, but they were so covered in tufa dust that I had to rinse them off. They were drying when the bottom photo was taken. 🙂

  7. Avicennia
    October 21, 2016 / 5:50 am

    Such a lovely post. I really enjoy the human warmth of Une Femme. Thank you for your creativity in putting a variety of posts together for us.

  8. Jennifer
    October 21, 2016 / 6:25 am

    I like seeing you in this rustic setting for a change! I live on the West Coast now, and really miss the fall foliage of my upstate New York childhood. It just isn’t the same in the PNW – although there is no lack of beauty here. You have found a lovely spot – I think road trips are the best kinds of trips. Have fun!

    • Leslie in Oregon
      October 22, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      Jennifer, try to see swaths of tamaracks on the eastern slopes of the Cascades in October. One of the only trees whose needles change color in autumn, they are incredibly beautiful in their various shades of gold…they look like gorgeous candles. Otherwise, I delight in the amazing Japanese maples in the fall…lovely shades and shapes as their leaves turn. My son, meanwhile, is enjoying his weekend forays from Brooklyn to upstate New York.

      • Jennifer
        October 25, 2016 / 9:35 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion, I will!

  9. DTK
    October 21, 2016 / 6:52 am

    Love going to the sierras at this time of year! Have even stayed at the same resort as you did.
    Looks like you picked a perfect few days. Enjoy your trip home!

  10. S Andres
    October 21, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Oh my! I was just in mammoth with my oldest son and daughter 2 weeks ago and there was no snow! Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  11. October 21, 2016 / 7:18 am

    What a great idea. Love photographing beautiful trees. Did a lot of that in Idaho. Must go on an adventure to the Sierras. Those cabins looks cozy. I’m up here i Pittsburgh where it has not stopped raining.

  12. October 21, 2016 / 7:50 am

    Beautiful photos, and very interesting blog. Makes me want to go visit. One day….!

  13. October 21, 2016 / 7:54 am

    I very much enjoyed a Fall trip to Vermont. Outstanding colors! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

  14. Lee Cavanaugh
    October 21, 2016 / 8:23 am

    Love the photos. You look so relaxed. Our leaf peeping is sort of in our backyard. Four hours away to the Great Smokies and Asheville, Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

  15. Alice
    October 21, 2016 / 8:43 am

    Love that area, and lovely photos. We went camping in the area between Mammoth and Bishop as soon as the campgrounds opened this spring, which turned out to be a *little* early. We woke up one morning to two inches of snow on our tent! Those pics make me want to go back soon, though.

    If you have time and the inclination, Schat’s Bakery in Bishop is worth checking out as you drive through!

    • Susan B
      October 22, 2016 / 11:52 am

      Thank you so much for the suggestion to stop at Schat’s! We did and I picked up some wonderful breads and cinnamon rolls for le Monsieur. He was delighted and remembered Schat’s from his teenage years when his family would drive up to Mammoth for the skiing.

  16. October 21, 2016 / 8:47 am

    So pretty and vivid! I love that part of the state – Mono Lake, Bridgeport, that whole mountain range. Where did you stay, if I can ask? If you are keeping that private, I understand:).

  17. marsha calhoun
    October 21, 2016 / 10:00 am

    I’m now formally putting the Eastern Sierras on my list of places to visit – somehow, although I have long found them attractive, I’ve never made any particular effort to see them. Leaf-peeping is already on my list, but my latent OC nature comes into play, causing anxiety that I will miss the one, perfect day when the show is at its best; I need to loosen up!

  18. October 21, 2016 / 10:10 am

    What a gorgeous spot!! I’ve bookmarked your cabins for a future trip. We only saw Mono Lake on a swift drive through but thought it a spectacular spot. I wish we got more of a show of leaves here in Nor Cal.

  19. Marguerite
    October 21, 2016 / 10:48 am

    Vermont’s Green Mountains and coastal New Hampshire are some of our great memories of Fall. Ooh the leaves! Here in Central Texas we get some show of color if conditions have been just right. I’m headed to NYC tomorrow. Hoping the Park in in its glory.

  20. October 21, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    I just returned from Seattle with a northern loop to Butchart Gardens. My trip started out sunny but then morphed into a significant Pacific storm.
    I only took an under seat bag. I found my packable Patagonia nano puff jacket to be invaluable. The Primaloft fill still maintains its thermal properties when wet, unlike down. It’s also thinner and machine washable.

  21. Wendy in York
    October 21, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Thanks for bringing back memories of our holidays in California . Marvelous mountains , especially at this time of year

  22. Jill Ann
    October 21, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    I grew up in Michigan, so took the beautiful fall foliage for granted. I’ve lived in TX for the past 30+ years, and my kids were born & raised here. In Houston, there is basically no fall color. In fact, not much of a fall at all. My older daughter is now attending grad school in New Jersey, and posted a beautiful picture yesterday; the Firestone Library at Princeton, with beautiful orange-red trees in front of it, with the caption “pretty weird to have a Fall that actually looks like Fall”. Hope she still loves it in the dead of winter!

    • Melissa
      October 24, 2016 / 5:54 am

      I grew up in that region of New Jersey, leave raking and jumping in them after, brilliant! After we would go in have a cup of cocoa, oh when Mommy made split pea soup! Oh that was the best, take a bunch of saltines break em up in the soup or oyster crackers! Yummy!

      Our driveway had 6 maple trees, 3 on each side, front yard a huge huge maple tree, side yards each red maples. It was amazing the colors! The snow, hahaha, had to walk to school, I lived right before the mile mark for the bus to pick us up so we weren’t allowed to take it. Many times cutting through yards to get to school quicker snow went up to the top of my legs!
      Later years before I moved to Europe I lived in New Hampshire, had over 3 beautiful acres in the white mountains. It wasn’t a vacation home it is where I lived year round, I have never seen those type of fall leaves in my life ever again. That I can say is one of the things I miss most, the fall leaves:(
      The only bad thing 45 minutes to the nearest hospital and major supermarket, oh and neighbors, while I couldn’t see them we had that much land, people who want to live so far away from others have a tendency to be a bit strange…. Was beautiful and an experience, but I wouldn’t ever live like that again.

  23. October 22, 2016 / 12:37 am

    Looks wonderful! We often get a pretty decent show of colour in the fall, but my best memory of fall colour — absolute luminosity!– was from about 10 years ago, just outside of Ottawa in October. Just stunning!

  24. Ellen
    October 22, 2016 / 5:11 am

    This year we wnt to Yellowstone and the Black Hills in September; fall is mid September there, and most of Yellowstone closes for the winter in October. Now we are in full Fall in Minnesota, and the month of October is gorgeous; no need to go father than my front door!

  25. October 22, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Just got back from leaf-peeping (and going to a gorgeous wedding) in Brattleboro, Vermont. Peak fall foliage and very few other tourists since it was not the 3-day Columbus Day weekend. If you’re ever up for an adventurous airbnb, check out Outer Green in Dummerston — top of a mountain at the end of a steep winding dirt road, a huge timberframed lodge with a spectacular view and congenial people.

    Love your account of a sisters road trip! Time to call my sister and propose one.

  26. maryzunino
    October 22, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    Such spectacular scenery, Susan, I had no idea there would be so much snow near to L.A. this time of year. And so good to hear something positive with that lovely lake filling up again. I’ve never leaf-peeped but I’m certainly tempted to now.
    I hope there’s a little travel capsule post coming our way soon …!

    • Susan B
      October 22, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      maryzunino, Thanks! Actually we were about 6 hours north of LA, just a bit southeast of Yosemite.

  27. Leslie in Oregon
    October 22, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    Thank you for this inspiring and lovely post…I particularly relish your travel posts!

  28. October 26, 2016 / 8:08 am

    I was in the Eastern Sierras for a week-end this month. I usually go in October to photograph Fall Colors. I haven’t stayed in the June Lake Loop area. I usually set up my base in Mammoth or Bishop and go with photographer friends. Your cabin looks great. I’ll be putting that resort on my list for future trips to the E.S.

    Your images at Mono Lake are lovely! I love the reflections. Wasn’t seeing the snow up in the mountains lovely! I hope it’s a good omen for Winter! A good snow pack with lots of water, and a good amount of rain is what I’m hoping for. 🙂

    I had just received my new iPhone 7 Plus the day before I left for the E.S. I was very excited to try out the two cameras it has.
    I’m really pleased with the results! Wanna see? A few images are posted here:

    Some more images made with my DSLR

    Sister trips can be such fun! I spent a week in NYC this past May with mine. Let’s hope not too many years pass between our next Sister Trip!

    • Susan B
      October 26, 2016 / 8:19 am

      Wow, those are some stunning photos! Thanks for sharing them.

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