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SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19: Access to Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra Status

As I anticipate 3 more weeks away from my family, staying here in the Alabama Hills I feel fortunate that there are no developed campgrounds in the Alabama Hills proper, hence I can hang out here. But if they close it, I’ll just go drive to some nice canyon on BLM or National Forest somewhere—anywhere with a cell signal. It would be stupid to close it, since no one is closer than a city block most of the time. I try to maintain at least 1/4 mile between myself and others, for noise and smoke reasons (can’t stand smoke and without it the air has been just wonderful).

Compared to usual, the Alabama Hills is practically empty with about 1/10 the usual number of visitors.

The Eastern Sierra area had been free of the virus until recently, but the virus has arrived in Inyo County and in Mono County. A few people are now wearing masks. I wore my N100 particular respirator and went through 4 changes of gloves today. My only risk is restocking, like I did today.


f1.8 @ 1/1050 sec, ISO 20; 2020-03-29 18:03:28
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm) ENV: altitude 4659 ft / 1420 m

[low-res image for bot]

I just restocked in Ridecrest today, and I now have food for two weeks and water for about the same, and a water purifier if I really need one (the creek is not that far). The main thing is that ice only lasts 7 or 8 days in my cooler. So I’ll just eat all perishable food in that time frame. With the virus going nuts, I am going to settle in and just photograph and publish stuff and ride my bike and stay away from all risk.

Walmart is often and annoyingly low on stock, but they seemed unusually low today on many things, so I think there has been some buying urgency. OTOH, the store was lightly visited around 5 PM so I dunno.

Tonight, I am at the end of a long dirt dead-end road. The sounds I hear are owls and wind and that is as good as it gets—I feel lucky to be safe, and my family is stocked up and safe too. I hope most of you are lucky and fortunate too.

While here, I have been taking a straw poll of sorts (standing at least 10 feet back and there was appropriate wind so no risk). Almost all of these visitors were transient (a few days at most), unlike me:

  • College students with no college to go to (remote study starting though). Just a weekend outing, all 6 of them with zero social distancing so either all were well or all were going to be all sick.
  • A family from Switzerland in a rented RV with a baby and a 5/6 year old. Very nice couple “stranded” and I told them a number of other places to visit and hang out at.
  • A couple from New York City, the guy being a photographer who had all his jobs canceled. So three weeks ago they left (good timing!) and are just enjoying themselves.... so much better than being in NYC.
  • Another nice couple enjoying recreational marijuana and not worrying about much of anything out in the middle of nowhere.
  • Various single people, and a few extended families.
f1.8 @ 1/950 sec, ISO 20; 2020-03-29 18:04:00
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm) ENV: altitude 4654 ft / 1419 m

[low-res image for bot]
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