Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mammoth Lakes, California --- The Last Two Days

View from the Sherwin Lakes Trail

Roger here...  The day after our last post brought a deluge of cold rain.  Luckily, the cable TV and wifi at the campground were good.  It was a nice, quiet day for Dianne and me, but a pretty boring day for our dogs.  

Elevated ski sign shows how deep the snow gets!
The following day, we knew that the dogs needed exercise beyond the quick trips out to take care of business.  Hiking on muddy trails was not appealing, so we walked to the edge of our RV park to pick up one of the paved hike, bike, cross-country ski trails that run through all parts of the town.  

The views along the trail match those of the many hiking trails in the area.  And, we did not get our feet wet.

 Along the way, we stopped to watch young people enjoy the nicest skate board park I have ever seen.  What an amazing town this is.

In a different city park there was a similar park geared for bicycling through concrete moguls.  Oh to be young.  

(Dianne here:  We also saw young adults expertly using the skate board park; I suspect they also expertly go snow boarding down the mountain.   The bicycling park would be good practice for those daredevils who race down the mountain on bikes [see previous blog entry].)

For us, the three-mile hike on a paved path was as much adventure as we needed that morning.  


After the long walk with the dogs, Dianne and I hopped in the car for a cruise along the June Lake Scenic Byway.

June Lake

US 395 Sign on the Brewery
We passed several idyllic small lakes along the byway.   When we reached the small town of June Lake, it was time for lunch.  I had read about the food and beer at the June Lake Brewery.  It was easy to find.

This turned out to be a very unique lunch.  The beer service was located in the brewery.  Evidently, service began whenever they opened the garage doors.  

When we walked to the door, the friendly bar keep welcomed us and directed us to the beer menu telling us to take our time deciding.  I asked about the food I had read about.

"You will need to cross the parking lot and go to the orange food truck that serves Hawaiian food.  Get your food, then come back to get your beer."  I got an Ono (white fish) po-boy.  Dianne got a fish taco. Very good food!   Now, what beer to get?

The bartender told us about the various choices.  Dianne got a pilsner.  I got a red ale.  Only 10 oz, so we were good for the drive back to Mammoth Lakes.

The next day was haircut day for Dianne.  She had a 4:15 p.m. appointment, so we needed to plan our day accordingly.  Dianne was still experiencing altitude issues on the more difficult hikes.  We are discovering that she does well at 6000 feet, but not so good at 8000+ feet.  I suggested that we repeat the less strenuous three-mile walk  along the paved city pathway with the dogs in the morning and then split up in the afternoon.  I was hoping that Dianne could have some quiet time while I did one last mountain hike.  The plan was for her to drop me off at the trailhead, then pick me up at the end of the hike when I called.  It all worked well, except that Dianne's quiet time ended up being a trip to the local laundromat due to a stomach issue with either the cat or one of our dogs (don't know who was the culprit).  Sigh.  We have no pictures of the laundromat or the beauty parlor, or the stained laundry, but I took several pictures during my solo hike to Sherwin Lakes.  

(Dianne again:   I got a good haircut (it's always a gamble when traveling).   The $45 + 20% tip bill made me really appreciate Carmen at Lisa's Salon where we live in Mission, Texas, who gives me just-as-good haircuts for $20 (and that includes a hefty tip, just because I think she does not charge enough).   In fact, the prices this entire trip have made me realize how good we have it in South Texas.)  


Dianne dropped me off a few miles outside of town at the trail head.  This hike required going up for 2.5 miles to the lake, and going down the same 2.5 miles.  I had already walked 3 miles with Dianne and the dogs, but was psyched for the additional challenge.  I also had an air horn to scare off any pesky bears.

The first leg of the hike was a pleasant stroll through the pine forest along and over Sherwin Creek.  Dianne would have enjoyed this part of the hike. 

The scenery soon changed, as did the level of effort.  The mountainside was covered with wildflowers.  The trail began to tilt upward.  Dianne would have enjoyed this part of the hike.

After an upward stroll through the flowers, the trail became steeper and rockier.  Every step required careful foot placement.  I was glad to have a hiking pole.

I was deep into the upward rocky switchbacks that dominated the majority of the hike.  Dianne would NOT have enjoyed this part of the hike.

I frequently stopped to catch my breath and sip some water.  I rationalized that snapping pictures was the reason for the stops, and not exhaustion.

BTW.  On the middle right side of this picture the town of Mammoth Lakes is visible in the valley.

A Better View of the Town of Mammoth Lakes

After two miles of effort, I arrived at the top of a shelf.  The last half-mile of the trail was relatively flat as it wound around large boulders.

When I turned a corner and saw the lake, I knew that the first half of the hike was near an end.  Pretty view, huh? The views from the rocky beach were even better.

I lingered for a short time in this setting --- so glad I made the effort to get to the lake.  Dianne would have LOVED this part of the hike.

I managed to hike back down the mountain to the trailhead in time for Dianne to pick me up before her trip to the beauty parlor.  Good news, because walking back to town was certainly possible, but not something I wanted to do.

We are at Lake Tahoe right now.  The drive from Mammoth Lakes to Lake Tahoe may be the most stressful drive we have ever taken in the motor home.  We got a late start because I needed to add air to several of the tires (chilly temperatures and altitude = lower tire pressures).  By the time we departed in the late-morning, early afternoon winds began to howl.  High profile vehicles like our motor home are difficult to maneuver in higher winds.  I am sure that the steering wheel is misshapen where I squeezed it for three hours.  We should have spent another night, but did not know how windy it was going to be.  Lesson learned.  The good news is that we made it safely to yet another jaw-dropping destination.

The pet picture of the day shows my buddy Bandido and me on one of the Mammoth Lakes paved trails.

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