THE SEASONAL STAY: Some may sniff at the lodging that closes part of the year due to weather, but we prefer to be annoyingly glass-half-full in this regard. After all, if a hotel or inn or campsite closes for a few months due to extreme hot or cold, that likely means it is in a rather stunning and/or extreme location. Making the time it is open rather remarkable and special. Our state has a number of such destinations -- and, nope, they're not all closed in the winter (see Death Valley's Inn at Furnace Creek for the opposite situation) -- and one such place is about to open for its warm-weather reservations. We're talking about the beautiful Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, which sits at 7,800 not far from the Giant Forest.
JAN. 2, 2012: That's the date that Bearpaw is opening for reservations (mind you, it won't be opening just yet, so don't go driving up). If you've ever wanted to try out a tent hotel, where you can hike in and find whole caboodle of amenities waiting for you, Bearpaw might be a good initial experience. It's operated by Delaware North and the meals are plenty Delaware-North-y -- see the Oatmeal Raisin French Toast and Tomato and Cheese Frittata. It's camping, but classy camping. Well, let's be honest: All camping is pretty classy. But Bearpaw boasts a bit of a posh, enjoy-the-scenery-and-not-the-work twist. Bearpaw will officially open around mid-June of next year.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Wuksachi recommends staying a night with them both before and after your Bearpaw adventure, due to the effort getting in and out of the camp.