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One night was definitely enough at our campground near the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Before we headed out, I did want to take advantage of the $2.00 showers. Unfortunately, they operated on tokens which had to be purchased from the camp host who was nowhere to be found. We took our time making breakfast and packing up in hopes that he would return but no luck. One more reason this campground would not be on my list for a return visit.
We got back on the road and headed to our first stop of the day at Big Pine Creek for a hike. It was the perfect day and place for an autumn hike. The trees were a dazzling bright yellow and the sun was shining with just a hint of fall coolness in the air. We hiked a few miles enjoying the beautiful scenery.
After our hike, we decided to check out Keough Hot Springs which we had heard about from the same fellow traveler in Bishop who had told us about the Bristlecone Forest. We figured a dip in the hot water would make up at least a little bit for the missed showers that morning. There are places in town where you can pay to go to the springs but we headed for the free section. According to my internet research, public nudity is common at the hot springs so we were somewhat prepared but still found ourselves a bit startled at the sight of a naked older gentleman walking around as we pulled in. We went in in our underwear and were decidedly overdressed for the occasion. The initial feeling of awkwardness quickly wore off as we enjoyed the hot water.
After enjoying our soak, we got back on the road and headed toward the town of Big Pine for something to eat before we started looking for a home for the night. We settled on Copper Top BBQ. You order from the window and the seating is outdoor picnic tables only. It was a gorgeous day for dining outdoors and the food was very good. On the advice of the very friendly young man at the window, Francis had the sampler platter that included chicken, ribs, and tri-tip, and I had the chili. We also enjoyed chatting with our fellow diners.
After an active fun-filled day, we were ready to find a home for the night. We consulted our favorite campsite resource, freecampsites.net and found a spot that looked promising. We were surprised to see that there is a place called Alabama Hills in California and we were even more surprised to find out how beautiful it was when we arrived. There were huge boulders everywhere with tons of places to pull in and camp. We found a nice roomy spot tucked into the rocks. We were set up in plenty of time to enjoy an incredible sunset. These are the kinds of days where we truly marvel at the beauty of our country and how lucky we are to be able to see so much of it together.