Last year, I went camping three times. I hadn't been camping in years prior to that. The three spots I went to were all in California and all were slightly different. I posted some pictures from my Bishop Creek trip. The trip to Kern River got a little more verbosity along with some pictures, and now here's Kennedy Meadows.
We went to Kennedy Meadows later in the year. Most people in the group prefer warm weather, especially when they're away from home. I like it either way. Hot or cold, if you have a good group, a strong spirit and even a small sense of adventure, I think everyone would enjoy camping even when its icy cold. According to weather reports and a few checks after our trip, we just missed the really cold weather.
Kennedy Meadows is pretty cool, have camp sites just like Bishop Creek and Kern River, but it seemed that it wasn't as well serviced. I don't think we saw a single ranger and we didn't see anyone else camping. Maybe it was the time of year. Either way we had lots of fun.
Most people arrived on Friday, I got lucky enough to drive up there Thursday night and spend a little more time with a few people that had arrived earlier that day. I have to warn you, the winding road up to the camping site is pretty damn treacherous for california highway standards. The thing is that I didn't realize this until I drove back home on Sunday. When I drove up there and got to the last road, it was already dark. 11:00 pm on a mountain road, no cell phone and only the company of Picasso. I cruised the road at a speedy 40 - 70, and didn't think anything of it, even my boxy Element with less than ideal handling for these kind of roads moved along just fine. When I drove back I realized how crazy I had been when I drove up. There aren't very many guardrails, the roads are narrow and here I was cruising in pitch black just teetering on the edge of disaster. My word of advice... get there with plenty of light, or drive carefully if its dark.
Besides the drive, which I didn't really think about until people brought it up and I drove it back, the place is awesome.
There's fishing somewhere even though we didn't really find it. Fishing at Bishop and Kern was much better, but again, this could have been the season. Also, its a little bit hard to coordinate a fishing outing when you have over 19 people so we didn't' really drive away from the camp or anything to look for a good spot. For Bishop and Kern we had places to go and had scoped out good fishing spots in advance. This makes a big difference. The river stretch that was close enough to walk and hike too just wasn't suitable for fishing, very shallow and rocky.
The river was way too cold for me to try a dip like I did at the other two places, but it seemed perfect for the dogs. All the dogs had a blast and lucky for us, there was a nice pool of calm water where they could play around and stuff. You can almost see the smiles in their faces.
I wouldn't recommend Kennedy Meadows for a new camper, especially during the winter. I hear its a great spot during the summer, and obviously the more friends you bring along and the more everyone cooperates, the better the experience will be. I would go again, but I'd like to do more research. Some people in our group found some good spots to ride dirt bikes, apparently there are some good trails up there. But it's in the rougher side of car camping.
We're going to be camping again at Bishop in a few months. I can't wait, it should be a blast.