Saturday, July 10, 2010

Manning up in Mammoth

After leaving Vegas, we knew we wanted to make it to Yosemite (roughly NW, more than a day’s drive…if you’re operating on our driving system). After some lame Google-ing efforts on my part, I randomly picked one city that looked to have a legitimate visitors page. Pretty high standards, huh?

Low and behold, Mammoth, CA is a skiing hotspot in the winter and is a great little resort town in the summer with about a million outdoorsy things to do. Actually the snow was so good this year that they left the slopes open through July 5th – Brian was super tempted to get up there, but the pricetag overrode the novelty of it (wah wahhhhh).

There are so many interesting things to share…

1)   Starting with, our incredible campgrounds. Our site was just on the other side of the lake to the right. Which means we woke up to the sounds of a rushing waterfall…oh okay FINE twist my arm.

2)   July 4th parade and fireworks! We rolled into town 15 minutes before the parade began - what an awesome start to the day! 

The nearby town of Bishop is the mule capital of the world. Who knew?

    That night we watched fireworks over a nearby lake and had hot dogs in the van. Livin’ large. There were no strawberries or blueberries in sight, which made my 6th annual flag cake, but I improvised.

3)   The stars are craaaaaazy there. They look so close that they’re like wallpaper in a 10-foot ceiling.

4)   Rainbow Falls. Ho-ly-cow this was so beautiful! We took a hike to a National Monument called Devil’s Postpile, which is pretty cool in itself.

So lava spilled on this mountainside and when it cooled it cracked into hexagonal columns, which is apparently one of nature’s “efficient” shapes (see inset). Then a glacier came along and knocked this thing upside the head, slicing it in half. This is what’s left.

But there were two other stars of the show on the hike. One, the Dali-esque landscape formed by a fire 18 years ago. Totally eerie.

And the second, of course, is Rainbow Falls. Bet you can guess what we saw.

That’s right!

5)   Camp friends – that’s right, we finally made some friends! So far in the trip, we haven’t seen anyone without kids or an AARP card, so we were stoked to meet Andy & Whitney in the site next to us, who seemed to be around our age and from the California coast. They shared their giant marshmallows, a beer, and a fire, and we brought nothing to the table whatsoever…but had a great time chilling with them J

6)   And finally, the mountain biking. This is where I put my big girl pants on.

Mammoth apparently has a huge mountain biking community, complete with “runs” similar to ski runs – and actually, some of them were on ski runs that had dried up, so Brian went up on the mountain while I naturally stayed down on a green. They also had a bike shuttle, which was clutch for avoiding the uphill returns…

Brian's intense route on the mountain

I had never been before but was fairly certain I’d be terrified the whole way, and that ended up being half-true. Brian was a great teacher though, and he was a saint for being patient with me.  I also had a pretty good self-soothing system going (“it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay” “just go straight it’s fine” “don’t look down you’re fine”). By the end of the day, I had graduated from Horrific to Embarrassing – not bad.

My "easy" green (it's all relative).

Suffice it to say, I'm starting to believe that anything worth doing requires some temporary emotional or physical damage. 

Thanks Mammoth – another great accidental find!

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