Leaving Bishop and entering new territory (insert fist pound here), I can’t help but look back on our time spent in the dry, desert country of central California. Upon first glance and unenthusiastically so, we were a bit disappointed in our surroundings. Bishop has been a lumbering idea in the rear of our noggins for months, now. We’ve been anxiously anticipating our first visit, fabricating all sorts of ideas as to the looks of this place. Unfortunately so, we arrived to find nothing too exciting or appealing. The overcrowded 395 divided this seemingly unique town in two. Coasting down Main Street, we were greeted by convenient and thrifty pit stops: McDonalds, Subway, and Starbucks; these mega franchises built to please the weekend traveler and trailer maggot. We also couldn’t escape air so hot and dry to fry even our roughest elbow skin (all at first glance).
The commotion and heat was exhausting. All I could think about was re-fueling Vincent and taking the nearest exit out of Inyo County. Certainly, first impressions can be rough. I will be the first to admit, I wasn’t impressed with the town, at all. Yes, the mountains were spectacular, glowing in cool hues of evening light, and there were vast acres of dry landscape, rich with sage and sand at every turn, but to me, the town lost its quaint, curb appeal to convenience and cheap gasoline. With wavering emotions, we wanted to escape the desert and fast-forward through this leg of our trip. Instead, we convinced ourselves to hang around for a few days, climb the acclaimed sport routes and Buttermilk boulder problems, and try to meet some of the locals. Maybe, just maybe, our first impressions would evolve in to something greater and more memorable.
Much to our surprise, we lingered around the Bishop area for nearly a week! The variety of climbing routes and accessible boulder problems were much too good to skip out on, and thanks to our Bishop-specific, daily routine, we found some delight in Bishop (even with outrageous temperatures). To beat the heat, we would wake early and devour our breakfast, usually fresh pressed coffee and chalky oats. Then, we would immediately wrap up our belongings and coast in to town, where we would fritter away with mini household tasks, like laundry, website updates, email replies, editing photos, car washes and more. During this time, the unrelenting heat finally gave in and a pleasant, gentle breeze arrived to whisk it away. By 4pm, we were hiking some sandy trail to a new crag. This was exactly what we envisioned Bishop to be (and hoped for), a mecca of intoxicating rock routes to satisfy all of our climbing desires. And that’s just it. A place where the rock and routes are undeniably beautiful and inspiring, a place to send hard problems, and a place that is a gateway to other exceptional climbing crags, like Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, and Clark Canyon. Bishop is a good place to visit and for 3,600 residents, it’s a place to call home. We will soon discover our own ‘home-sweet-home’ and hopefully, we will get to frequent one of the best climbing meccas in the world: Bishop, California.
We liked exploring Bishop and the surrounding areas. We met wonderful people and laid eyes on Mother Nature’s finest creations. We had an amazing weekend with our great friend, Falco, hiking through some phenomenal, high alpine terrain. We laughed until our bellies ached, climbed copious amounts of solid rock, and learned a great deal. Overall, our experience was a positive, happy one. First impressions can be rudimentary. I know mine was. I am very thankful to have spent some time exploring the area and will positively visit again (insert fist pound here).