17 July 2008

July 4 in the Sierra: pyrotechnics with a Pyro

by Dan Phillips

July is likely to end up being a Tale of Two Jonathans for Phil and me. We may both temporarily leave off the customary theology and exposition and whatnot. And so, for my part, at the urging of some kind souls....

At the last moment, it was decided that my Jonathan (8) and I would keep our family's annual date with fireworks in the Eastern Sierra. It keeps a half-century-plus-long Phillips tradition of vacationing in the area between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, California. It was hot, and smokier than I've ever seen it, but Jonathan and I had a great time. Let me show you some of it. (Click on any picture to see a larger version.)

First we stopped at a stream where highways 88 and 89 intersect, and Jonathan was eager to do some splashing. The water was cool...

...and the wildflowers were beautiful.

Then we descended into Nevada, passing through Gardnerville, where we took advantage of the much lower gas prices. Then we stopped at a favorite restaurant at Topaz Lake, enjoying a sumptuous dinner. Jonathan finished his with some chocolate ice cream.

The next step has been a Phillips Men tradition for many years. We stop at a day area campground by the West Walker River, and we — well, we....

Ahh. (Yes, I dipped too. But since my camera is worth more than I am, I just set it safely aside rather than asking Jonathan to snap a shot.)

After a nice sleep, the next day we made our way to Mammoth village, and enjoyed the annual craft fair. Jonathan was pretty sure he recognized a guy who'd commented at Frank's blog.

Jonathan made several passes through a pretty tough, inflated obstacle course. Among other things, it involved a slide....

...and walking across a rolling barrel.

(Jonathan accepted some help.)

Then we went up to the Mammoth lakes proper, the lowest of which is (are?) Twin Lakes. Here's the gorgeous view of upper Twin Lake, and the waterfall that flows from Lake Mamie, with Crystal Crag in the background.

Then we went down to Lake Crowley to take our places, waiting for it to get dark enough for the fireworks show. We had a good view of the neck of land whence the displays would be launched.


Then the show began!

Finishing with the Grand Finale.

After a good night's sleep, the next day found us hiking the length of beautiful Convict Lake. (Jonathan brought along his longtime friend [and mine], Bear. For one sermon, Bear [full name: Bear-Bear] graciously lent his services as an illustration. It was very apropos. Remind me to tell you about it some time.)

Once again, Jonathan cooled his feet...

...and heeded my counsel to stay well-hydrated.

Jonathan enjoyed the lovely, subtle fragrance of the wild roses by the lake's shore.

That evening we enjoyed barbecued steaks and S'mores in a campground by a creek.

One more sleep in Bishop, and we headed for home the next day. But no need to hurry!

We explored by a creek we'd never seen before, and found some of my Indian Paintbrush...

...and another lovely wildflower.

On the way back, Jonathan was determined to get a really good, deep dip in the East Walker.

Leaving the last adventure to me, at the 150-plate buffet:


Hey — I can't let Phil have all the fun!

Thanks for your interest and patience. Jonathan was absolutely delightful company, the scenery is always a balm to my soul, the food was great, and we filled some of the drive-time by listening to Jonathan Park and Adventures in Odyssey. Hope to make it back up to the Sierra with a different configuration of Phillipses later this year.

(Are there any Pyro readers in the Mammoth-Bishop area?)

Dan Phillips's signature

37 comments:

donsands said...

Nice pictures. What great memories for you and your son.

greglong said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Solameanie said...

I only got to have one outing like that with my father before he passed away. Jonathan will hold some great memories, for which he'll be thankful in later years. Great photos.

BTW, for a moment you had me scared for you. I thought YOU were going to do the fireworks, and as I remember, California had some fairly strict fireworks laws when I lived out there because of the brushfire danger. I thought for a moment we'd have to take up a collection to bail you out of the hoosegow.

DJP said...

This year, I left it to the professionals. They do sell them however, in Sacramento; I think they were also selling them in Bishop and Mammoth, though warning about fire hazard. We did see a lot going off as we drove back to the motel.

pastorbrianculver said...

I took my son to several places so that we could spend some one on one time. It was awesome and created a bond that exists today! Great pictures you have! The memories will be even greater!

DJP said...

Hope so! But, given Jonathan's memory about other events, I'm hoping the 550 pix will help. (Digital photography: a wonderful thing.)

tedntn said...

Now those are the kinds of "traditions" we can all subscribe to. Things a young man never forgets. Thanks for sharing your trip.

candyinsierras said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos. We have friends who live in Bridgeport and drive an hour and a half to attend the same church we attend. They might be Pyro readers since I suggested Pyro to them. :) They could use a good church in Bridgeport I hear.

Your wildflower is a wild Iris.

donsands said...

BTW, how did that octopus, (that is an octopus), taste. Looks a little chewy. A Toothpick is most likely in order, one would think.

DJP said...

It wasn't bad, actually. The concept was bad; the execution, not so much. Jonathan thought it was hysterical.

Chewy, yes; also surprisingly spicy.

I'd do it again.

Fred Butler said...

Did you see any Sasquatch?

~Mark said...

Waitaminnit...you mean...you conservative, reformed, CHRISTIANS...actually have fun??

*swoon*

DJP said...

Did not see Sasquatch. May have eaten some.

Sharon said...

Fred: where did you find your avatar?? Must. Have. Copy.

A Musician by Grace

Susan said...

I was just gonna say about that octupus thing...first you consulted the fortune cookie and now this. Yet another Levitical law broken! Can't imagine what you'll do next year.... :P

(Well, at least the head-dipping isn't a violation.)

pastorbrianculver said...

(Well, at least the head-dipping isn't a violation.)

copying after the ostrich, huh? At least he didn't come up with a bunch of fish in his mouth like a pelican!

Susan said...

In all seriousness, nice pics. The fireworks pics turned out nicely, especially the first one, because I can actually see part of the dusk skyline off to the lower right-hand side of the pic!

(Still can't get over that head-dip.)

DJP said...

Thanks, Susan. Did you notice that you can see the moon — all of it? I'm really liking this camera. I put it on a tripod, set it to determine the exposure, and pressed the button repeatedly.

Actually, most of them got the skyline. Most of the pictures here are cropped and reduced; it's a 10 megapixel camera, so the shots are pretty blow-uppable. It'd be tempting to... to find somewhere to put them if anyone were really anxious to see all the details.

Susan said...

Wow--10 mp! You guys have such neat toys--from Phil's retro-styled keyboard to your 10 mp camera. I wonder what Centurion has....

DJP said...

He had that eyebrow-thing.

But then he broke it.

Pastor Bob said...

"(Are there any Pyro readers in the Mammoth-Bishop area?)"

I am a pastor in Hawthorne, NV very close to the area... Bob Wilson

Susan said...

Dan, If you didn't point it out, I wouldn't have noticed the moon at all--thought it was part of the fireworks in the first pic! (Oh, okay, the second pic does show a moon that's farther apart.) Really bright and vibrant colors on the fireworks in the first pic. Kudos!

Susan said...

Come again, Dan? What eyebrow thing??

(Feel free to jump in and explain, Frank!)

DJP said...

Frank's old image.

I picked an old meta at random. Look for one of his comments in this thread, and watch the picture for a minute or two.

Susan said...

Ah, the half-Groucho. How did you break it, Frank?

candyinsierras said...

Hi Pastor Bob, fellow Nevadan. God bless you down in Hawthorne.

Stefan said...

1. Great photos, wonderful story.

2. I'd love to hear (read) the bear sermon.

3. Crystal Crag: such a tacky name for a such a beautiful example of God's creation. Oh, the fallenness of man!

4. Re the Phillips tradition: I'm very concerned for you, Dan. The Presbyterian church you attend is clearly rubbing off on you. (And it's not even a full immersion!)

DJP said...

Thanks for 1-3

For #4, oh believe me, you've no reason for concern. The object was his head, and you'll notice it's well on its way to full immersion.

Hadassah said...

Thanks for the pictures, that was fun! They reminded me of that TV show (can't remember the name) where the main character is always having conversations over the fence with his next door neighbor, but the neighbor's face is always cleverly hidden from view. Very creatively done.

Ahh, spicy octopus. Haven't had any in a while. But I don't remember eating the head, just the tentacles. Very chewy.

DJP said...

Ding ding ding, Hadassah, you win! You're the first to comment on that.

Yep, it's deliberate. My wife is uncomfortable with kids' pictures being up on the internet, and I respect her concern. So you caught it correctly — much as I'd like to show the world what a handsome young man he is.

For another bit of artful positioning, but for a totally different reason, see this post from the early days of Pyromaniacs.

S.J. Walker said...

Dan,

Some of my favorite memories in my life are those of things Dad and I did and places we went. Once, he took me and my brother (I was 7, my brother 10) on a road trip in our64 Dodge named Sheba all the way from Colorado to AR to see my Uncle, then up to Iowa to see my Grand Parents right before Grandpa retired from farming, then to see my other uncle in Iowa, then back. We were gone two weeks and it is still an epoch in our lives.

Very cool you got to do this sort of thing along the way.

Stefan said...

The TV show is Home Improvement. Tim Allen's character's next-door neighbour Wilson is the man in question.

Or so I have heard.

Cameron said...

Hope you enjoyed the baby octopus. As an American living and ministering in Singapore, I eat those quite often. They're actually quite a delicacy and are always served as part of the first course at the traditional Chinese wedding banquet!
Like you mention, the taste isn't nearly as bad as the look...

candyinsierras said...

I thought it was a deformed mushroom.

Gilbert said...

I thought "Why is Dan eating a messed up starfish---or a trampled mushroom---what is that thing?". But then again, I've learned that when you ask people "what is that you're about to eat"...if you have to ask, you generally DON'T want the answer. I was "encouraged" by friends to try "Calf Fries" once, and they refused to tell me what they were. I thought, "what odd shaped fries!". They tasted like chicken!...right.

Anyway, back on topic...Dan, how blessed are you, sir. Relish the memories, cherish the thoughts straight into eternity. Thank your for sharing!

DJP said...

pastor Bob — it's a bit out of the way... but it's closer than Sacramento. What's the elevation there? What's it like?

Kermit said...

Those are some really nice firework pics Mr. Phillips, maybe you can get a photo deal from a company through Flickr ;)
Btw, I had my own fun with full immersion in a mountain stream earlier in May. (brrrrrrr)