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Here is a view up the runway of an old practice landing strip at 10000’. As we understand it, this was built some time back to allow Air Force pilots to practice take-offs and landings in the thin air of this altitude. While it was not in apparent use now, it was an important part of training in the past. Wonder what type of mission that would have demanded that the pilot be able to operate at these type of altitudes?

Bill takes a pause on the high plateau before heading for the decent down Onion Creek into Big Pine.

A glance back at the magnificent Sierras.

A look back from were we were. The landing strip from a few pictures back is off to the right on the plateau below.

A view back towards the Sierras, not to far from Sugarloaf peak, as the Sierras begin to drop out of sight.

Dave and Bill check out the view of the Owens valley as we begin our decent down Onion Creek.

Mark, who was leading, got a little off of the GPS track. We found ourselves confronted with this little obstacle to get us back on the track, which is coming down the ridge from the left. We had to first get through the soft muddy part in the foreground and then muster enough momentum to get and around the rock stair-step beyond. A bit of a challenge to make the ride interesting.

Looking down to where we’ll be heading: Onion Creek road.

Onion Creek road turned out to be a very steep road. Here Dave had a little bit of difficulty and ran off the road into the bushes after hitting some loose rocks on a particularly steep section. This was shortly before his rear brake system completely failed! Once back in the valley the brakes came back somewhat. We can only guess that the rear brake system fluid must have boiled. 

A view down the decent into Owens Valley. The town of Big Pine is off to the left, with the White Mountains on the other side of the valley.

A zoomed in view of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory at the base of the White Mountains.

An even closer shot of the antennas at the Observatory.

Mark managed to capture this shot of a hawk.

Once back down in Owens valley, we swung by Keogh hot springs to check out the area. This little pool was bathwater warm and located just to the Northeast of the actual official springs. While checking out the springs, we ran into ex-motocross racer “Dangerous Dave” (?), who after trying to tell his life’s story, proceeded to shoot the moon in the direction of the Mammoth Lakes motocross track. Not a sight that we wanted to see, but it happened so fast that we didn’t have enough time to take evasive action. You never can tell what type of characters you’ll run across on the trail.

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