COVID gave my husband, our dogs and me a great gift: a cabin get-away high up in the Sierra.
When the pandemic arrived in California in early 2020, and all travel plans and socializing were put on hold, we replaced our habitual entertainments with training for an ambitious goal—hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite (16 grueling miles, with a 5,000’ elevation gain, ending with pulling oneself up cables to its 8,839’ crown—at 74 years old!). For conditioning on trails at high altitude, we drove 280 miles from our home in Los Angeles through the hot and parched Owens Valley to an alpine community in the mountains high above Bishop, California. We rented a cabin nestled in aspen trees, where deer visited every morning, an occasional fox scurried down the driveway, the sky was truly blue and the air pristine. To build strength and stamina, we carried 20-pound packs up wild flower adorned trails to crystal clear lakes up at 11,000’.
We returned to the cabin several times, increasing the weight in our packs and adding miles to our training hikes. On each visit we found ourselves delaying our return to city life. One day the light went on—with the help of Zoom, Steve could do his job from anywhere (he runs a big nonprofit that serves homeless veterans), our home in Los Angeles had been his base of operation since the start of sheltering in place for COVID, so why not set up a work area in this spot we love?
Cabins rarely become available in Bishop’s mountain communities, and when they do, they sell on the same day they are listed. We live 6 hours away, so it seemed impossible to get in a bid on time. But one day while we were hiking in the area, our local friend Fran told us about a charming cabin before it was put on the market. We took one look at its peaked roof, location bordering a national forest, screened in sun room, cheerful wood stove, and we were smitten. Now it’s ours!
The cabin, which we will name someday, needed a bit of work, but the basics were there. Two days after escrow closed we packed up a card table, 2 folding chairs, warm bedding, 2 big dogs—Atticus and Tango—and drove north. We put in good internet on the first day, and find it difficult to stay away. The cabin has become an all-consuming hobby, our greatest escapade, a life changer.
In the Cabin Life section of this blog, I recount our adventures, and share recipes for the food I create during our escapes from Los Angeles. Please tune in and you’ll learn whether we made it to the top of Half Dome, visit the lush organic farm that thrives in bone-dry Owens Valley, join us at outdoor pizza parties at stream-side picnic tables, discover how to furnish a cabin on the cheap, view spectacular hikes and discover great recipes for easy cabin meals.