What to do, what to do…

by Duane ~ July 23rd, 2011. Filed under: Mammoth, Things to Do.

So this is a ‘Destination’ wedding we’re planning here.  And what better about a ‘destination’ than all the things you can do.  We started making a list, but it really goes on and on, and some of my favorite things were not included at first because two of my favorites are really so far out in the middle of nowhere that it takes an entire day (leaving early from Mammoth and returning late) to do them.

So, for all our guests that will be coming (announcements are actually going to be sent as soon as we get that pesky date nailed down) here are just a few things to do.   Well, sixteen to be exact.  They’re not in any particular order, and after I (finally) post some pictures of the ring, I’ll post pictures I’ve taken of some of our little forays into the wilderness.

This is going to be the first part of a multi-part post simply because there’s too much to talk about in a single article.  I’m going to start with ‘The List’ and expand on it with descriptions, photos and details.  If you’re lucky I might even provide you with some secret maps and details you won’t get anywhere else…

The List:

1. Yosemite National Park

Of course!  Yosemite National Park is breathtaking.  The entrance to the park is only 25 minutes away from Mammoth, but to the Valley or Glacier Point is an all day excursion.

2. Hot creek

Just a couple minutes from the Mammoth Yosemite airport, and about 20 minutes from town is the famous ‘Hot Creek’ with pools of hot water from underground and surrounding hot springs.  Alas, the forestry service won’t let you sit in them anymore, but it’s worth the trip to see them.

3. June lake Loop

About a half hour from Mammoth lies it’s sister ski resort, June Mountain.  It’s surrounded by some of the most spectacular peaks in the area and makes for a nice visit.  Day hikes abound, and one of our favorite restaurants, the Double Eagle is there.

4. Mono Lake

A former inland sea and on the way to Yosemite is Mono Lake.  It has a desolate beauty all it’s own and can be a rather warm trip in the summer.  It’s an alkaline lake, so there’s no fishing, but it is a haven for waterfowl and it’s Tufa Rock formations make for some good photos. You might be interested in the Panum Crater; one of the most recent examples of the local volcanic geology.

5. Mammoth Lakes Basin

Fishing, boating, kayaking and hiking are what it’s all about in the lakes basin.  The lakes basin is a network of  5 lakes; Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Lake George and Horseshoe lakes.  Watch out for the bears, they’re notorious for shoplifting a fisherman’s catch.

6. Devil’s Postpile

Take the Red’s Meadow bus from the main lodge down to the bottom of the San Juaqin River canyon for a couple of short day hikes.  The Devil’s Postpile is a national monument protecting a very beautiful display of unique lava formations.  The lava here cooled very slowly, leaving hexagonal columns hundreds of feet high.

7. Rainbow Falls

Just down the trail beyond the postpile is Rainbow Falls, which at almost any time of the day displays the rainbows which gave the falls its name.  It’s the same bus ride to get to the postpile, and you might want to combine the two.  The combined hike is about 2.5 miles each way, so reserve a few hours for a leisurely hike.

8. Convict lake

Beyond Hot Creek and the Airport, traveling south on highway 395, you’ll find Convict Lake.  There’s a great restaurant, cabins where you can stay and the beautiful lake, named after an encounter by sheriffs with a group of convicts who escaped from prison in Carson city.  The towering Mt. Morrison was named after one of the sheriff’s posse who was killed in the shootout.

9. The Ghost Town of Bodie

An hour’s drive from Mammoth is the gold boom ghost town of Bodie.  About eight thousand people lived in this remote mountaintop gold mining town in 1870’s, but now it’s a state park where you can wander the old main street that boasted 65 saloons at one time.

10. Mountain biking

Both the mountain and numerous surrounding trails will give any mountain biker some of the best rides anywhere.  Take the gondola to the top and have ten or fifteen different ways down.

11. Golf

At 8000 feet, the Sierra Star golf course is the highest golf course in California.  And it’s a beauty.  The altitude makes the ball really fly adding distance to your drives.  Have fun!

12. Fishing

The Mammoth lakes area is, outside of the legendary fly fishing of Montana, probably one of the best fishing spots anywhere.  Because of the Sierra snowpack, the creeks and lakes are loaded with trout of all sorts from opening day ’til they freeze over again in the late fall.  All you anglers, have at it.

13. Hiking

Are you kidding me?  I can go on and on about this topic.  I’ve hiked the Eastern Sierras since I was a kid.  There are so many beautiful and varied hikes for any level of hiker that I’m going to save a separate post just for some great hiking tales.  We spent almost three weeks hiking the trails in and around Mammoth in 2009.  A different experience every couple days and we hit about six different 10-11,000 ft passes.  Stay tuned for my descriptions.

14. Bishop Paiute Casino

Prefer indoor sports to outdoor?  40 minutes down the hill is the town of Bishop.  If you like to fish, it’s great, but if you like the casinos, it’s even better.  Just about any form of cards you like can be had at the ‘Paiute Palace’ and of course the slots and video poker as well.

15. Laws museum Bishop

The laws railroad museum in Bishop is a fun stop for those who are interested in old west history.  There’s old railroad equipment, mining equipment, a narrow gauge you can ride in, all told there’s eight acres of old west memorabilia and antique exhibits.  Fun for everyone.

16. Spas

Think your feet will be tired from dancing at the wedding or from one of those day hikes?  There are several great day spas in town.  From Belladonna’s, In Touch, Bodyworks, Daylight’s Healing Touch and Healing Arts to Catwalk, Hot Looks and Lesley’s to the full spa and resort at the Double Eagle in June; your aching muscles and your couture will be catered to.

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