Thanks to the furloughs for State of California employees, the Beloved had a longer-than-usual Memorial Day weekend, and so we decided to use that time to go see some of the State of California that we had never seen. Specifically, we decided to take a road-trip to the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, staying in Mammoth Lakes.
We went there for a couple of reasons – first off, we’d never been to the Eastern Sierra before and had heard that it was beautiful, with very dramatic views. Secondly, as we were taking Penny with us, National Parks are no good (you can’t have your dog outside in the parks) whereas National Forests allow pets and the whole Eastern Sierra is essentially one giant National Forest.
If you’re into mountains and giant vertical rises of granite, you’re hard pressed to beat the drive up the Owens Valley to the Mammoth area. The valley floor is around 4000 ft above sea level and the mountains routinely top 12k. Talk about impressive.
We stayed in a nice little cabin in “Old” Mammoth, and spent our first couple of days hiking trails that took us to nearby lakes. The hikes weren’t too strenuous and I was pleasantly surprised that the change in altitude didn’t really affect us (our cabin was at ~8100 ft), and the trails generally went up about 500-1000 ft.
The first one took us to Sherwin Lake, which was right near Mammoth. It was a good hike and we stopped and had lunch all by ourselves along the lakeshore – all we could hear was the ripple of the lake and the wind through the mountains and trees.
The other hike was to Parker Lake, which was maybe 20 minutes north of Mammoth, near the pass that leads over to Yosemite (the pass was still closed). This was also a great hike and we were able to also enjoy another peaceful quite lakeshore lunch.
If you look closely at the snowfield below, you can see where there had been an avalanche.
These lakes and trails were as gorgeous as any that I’d seen in the Rockies or Alps — what a great way to enjoy a couple of half-day hikes – and one of the great things about this area is that there were other amazing things to see other than gorgeous alpine lakes. More about those sorts of things in the next posts.