Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons
Bishop to Lone Pine
Bestselling Sierra hiker/author/historian Giacomazzi hiked and backpacked more than a thousand miles in the past five years to research this book, a follow-up to and companion volume for her bestselling Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons: Sonora Pass to Pine Creek. This handsome and handy guide covers thirteen dramatic eastside Sierra Canyons. Starting around the spectacular forks of Bishop Canyon, Sharon divulges a wealth of hikes both popular and obscure, then continues south to explore gorgeous Big Pine Canyon and its lakes and glaciers, rugged Oak Creek Canyon and Baxter Pass, remote Shepherd Creek Canyon, and the riches of Cottonwood Creek and Lone Pine Canyons, including hikes near Mount Whitney.
Along the way Sharon details local history, describes 24 of the best campgrounds, 12 rustic resorts, other lodgings, six pack stations and more than 140 lakes, where to find wildflower blooms and autumn color displays, and how to arrange horseback rides and pack trips in these canyons for those who would rather ride than hike. Each chapter highlights features "Of Interest" in that area. Includes easy-to-read maps for each canyon. This fine book also has 13 feature articles about Eastern Sierra hiking, local color and history, back roads and more.This is sure to become a classic guide to the Sierra's dramatic east side.
2015. 216 pages, 5-1/2" x 8-1/2". full-color cover, 65 black & white photographs plus an 8-page insert of 35 color photographs, 15 maps, bibliography, index.
ISBN 978-0-939431-36-6 trade paper
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“Giacomazzi's enthusiasm for the world she writes about [Eastern Sierra canyons] is so infectious that her guidebooks are that rare thing: guidebooks that are actually a pleasure to read. And they are packed with useful information and historical lore, especially for the hiker new or relatively new to the Eastern Sierra.”
Michael Loughman, The Inyo Register
Review of both Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons books
By Wendilyn Grasseschi
Mammoth Times Staff Writer
Guidebook author Sharon Giacomazzi has written two wonderful guidebooks to some of the most beautiful places in the Eastern Sierra; the precipitous canyons that cut through the range every few miles. These spectacular canyons uniformly get short notice by guidebook writers and Giacomazzi’s delightful books finally make proper amends.
In a world awash with local trail guidebooks, it takes something truly unique to stand apart.
And Sharon Giacomazzi, author of two hiking guidebooks to the Eastern Sierra canyons, has it.
It’s called love.
It doesn’t hurt that Giacomazzi ia a good, expressive, and clean writer. It doesn’t hurt that her guidebooks are filled with dozens of odd and wonderful facts that even the most avid Sierra-lover probably doesn’t know. It doesn’t hurt that her books are about something no other guidebooks of the area have ever covered; the beauty and majesty not of the Sierra’s high peaks and passes, but the deep and rugged Eastside canyons and creeks that cut through the escarpment like a knife through butter, plunging 10,000 feet or more from top to bottom.
All of those things help, making her Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons (Sonora Pass to Pine Creek, Bishop to Lone Pine, two volumes) hard to put down. But what makes them truly irresistible is something else, something else less tangible.
That’s where the love thing comes in. Giacomazzi is just plain crazy in love with the Eastern Sierra, and unlike most trail and hiking guidebooks, which plunk down a bunch of dry factoids about miles and campsites like they are writing a recipe, she’s not afraid to show it.
The end result is two truly delightful books, books that read more like a good visit with your best friend than a guidebook.
“Take a long break and revel in the gorgeous alpine setting,” she writes about Upper and Lower Sardine Lake, high in Bloody Canyon (above Walker Lake). “Deep and cold, glittering with harsh beauty, the lake occupies a glacial bowl imprisoned by towering, barren cliffs. A brilliant wildflower display along the shore and outlet creek softens the Spartan environment. The main event here is the absolutely knockout vista toward Mono Lake, certainly one you’ll never forget.”
Then she spices it up with some of those quirky facts that most long-time Sierra lovers have always wondered about, but never get around to really asking.
“Perhaps you are wondering why two Sierra lakes were named for a saltwater fish,” she writes. Well, yes, you probably were (but to find out, you’ll have to read her books for yourself).
And that’s pretty much how her books go; lovely imagery followed by unique observations and tightly researched historical information, all blending seamlessly in an in-depth discussion about almost every single Eastern Sierra canyon. From the overcrowded Lone Pine Canyon (Mt.Whitney trailhead) to Molybdenite Canyon, a beautiful and little-known canyon north of Bridgeport that just might be one of the most gorgeous places you have never heard of, Giacomazzi covers them all. (She’s even got an old stone ashram that I’d never heard about, down south, up a precipitous canyon that defies gravity. Spend a night there under the full moon and you’ll believe in magic once again).
The combination of this unusual subject, good writing and historical research make Giocomazzi’s books increasingly popular and a must-have for the serious Sierra lover. She’s a sought-after speaker, has written another book about Yosemite trails, and is working on a forth book right now.
And she comes by her information honestly, the good old-fashioned way; through walking hundreds and thousands of miles (she estimates about 11,000 miles) in the Sierra during the past 30-plus years. She started on the Westside, where she bought property and where she grew up. But it was, and still is, the Eastside that has her heart, particularly the canyons.
“The first canyon I ever saw was Lundy,” she said. “It took my heart away and never let it go. It’s something about the contrasts, the unexpected. Most people just see the canyons as they drive by. They seem so monochromatic, so flat and not very interesting. Then, you drive up into them, and they are so lush, so beautiful, just screaming with vibrancy.”
She started her forays into the canyons here in the 80s and gets back in to them every chance she gets. “I just feel like I belong there,” she said. I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not going to get lost. I’m home. I’m home.”