Sunday, May 29, 2022

5/27 - 5/29 Adventure in Mammoth Lakes, CA

As the end of the cooler months approached, we wanted to spend one last weekend outdoors before the summer sun hit. So, we took the long weekend for Memorial Day to drive up to Mammoth Lakes in California. We packed up the Bronco with the 3 of us (Winston came too of course) and left Friday morning. 


Mammoth was a 5 hour drive from Vegas without any real highway to get there so we had to take multiple single lane roads. This wasn't an issue except for route 168 as it went through the Inyo National Forest. There were two mountain passes with winding roads that caused Nina to feel a little sick. Unfortunately, the detour to avoid this route would have taken us far out of the way so she had to suck it up both there and on the way back. I would not want to take route 168 in the winter with the risk for ice or snow. 

Once we got past that, we stopped in Bishop which was a cute small town. Little did we know that Bishop was celebrating their annual 'Mule Days' week long holiday. That meant that the whole town was full of mule related activities from learning how to pack a mule to gift shops full of mule related items. Apparently, Mule Days in Bishop is the biggest celebration of mules on the planet. Who knew! After we took in Mule Days over lunch at Looney Bean, we made the rest of the drive up into the gorgeous mountains around Mammoth Lake to check in to our hotel, the Mammoth Mountain Inn. 

Once checked in, we found that our room was a first floor room with our very own deck and a view of the ski slopes. Winston immediately went on the deck as Winston showed us that our deck was shared with all the other rooms on the first floor. Thankfully, none of the other guests had their doors open otherwise Winston would have ran right on in. Once we corralled him back and unpacked, we hit the village to walk around and take in the sights. 

The village was on a single street with plenty of parking. Nina loves to shop in these mountain towns and every store was dog friendly so Winston was able to shop with us as well! With it being the end of the season, all the stores had 20% sales on winter gear which we took advantage of to get Nina a new beanie and Winston a new bandana. I did not get anything sadly, I never seem too...Anyways, we came across a cute restaurant called Campo Mammoth and we stopped for a few meatballs and some drinks before turning in to our hotel room for the night.


We had plans to go kayaking on a two seat kayak (and a seat for Winston in the middle, he even packed his life jacket) on Convict Lake Saturday morning so we got up early and headed out to the lake. We quickly realized that it was a very windy day at Mammoth. We drove past the regional airport and I noted that the wind sock was maxed out meaning the winds were at least 25 knots. The lake was beautiful and tucked in a valley surrounded by mountains but even on the small lake, there were white capes on the waves. Due to the high winds, our reservation was cancelled and we got our money back but we were still disappointed we weren't able to go. Thankfully, the lake had a nice trail that went right around it so we decided to do that. 

Once on the hike trail, we immediately noticed the contrast between hiking in greenery with trees and foliage and the hikes we are used to doing in Vegas where it is all brown and rocky. We agreed that we liked green more! On the far side of the lake, the water runoff from the nearby mountains created an area with little waterfalls and babbling brooks and a small wooden bridge to cross it. Winston enjoyed playing in the mountain water while Nina and I had a famous stick race. My stick won of course. As I took in the scenery, Nina and Winston pushed on ahead across the bridge without me. With Winston's wet paws, it wasn't tough to figure out where they went. 

As we made the turn to head back toward the marina, we realized how calm the winds were at the back side of the lake. This is no surprise since we were in the shadow of the mountain but as we continued, the winds picked up again foreshadowing a weekend full of winds. This part of the trail became more groomed allowing locals to get close to the water to fish. Since there was no boating today, many people were out fishing. Once our hike was concluded, it was time for lunch so we headed back to the village to get some za at Mammoth Pizza Co! 

After lunch in the village where Winston got plenty of pepperonis, we headed out to another popular lake called June lake. June lake was much bigger than Convict lake and even had a small town on one side. They had numerous camp grounds and a big beach for us to walk around. The high elevation combined with the mountain winds made for a very cold visit to the beach but Winston went in the water anyways. After a brief visit and a coyote sighting, we decided to head back to see the Earthquake Fault and the Scenic Loop.

The Earthquake Fault was something right out of Minecraft! There was a deep crack in the ground as deep as 25 feet in some places. The ground around it seemed completely undisturbed. It even knocked over a few trees. The whole place was very eerie. Despite the fence around the area, Winston wanted to go in and made a run for it but we pulled him back before he disappeared forever!                                                                                                    After the Earthquake Fault, we drove the Scenic Route that was close by. There were signs for the Inyo Craters nearby so we decided to take a look. Although we weren't planning on hitting dirt this weekend, I'm not gonna say no to a chance to get some dirt on the tires so we turned off! It was about a mile on a groomed dirt road before we came to a parking lot which was the start of a short hike up to see the craters. We decided to take a look and 3/4 of a mile later, we found the crater! Very exciting and again, kind of eerie.

After the crater, we continued on the scenic loop and I noticed how much dispersed camping there was in the area. I definitely made a note of that in case we ever wanted to come back and camp in the area. There were also dirt roads seeming to go all directions so again, making a note for any future off roading trips up here in the mountains! 

When we went back to the town for dinner, we found that Mammoth hold an annual 'Mammoth Yacht Club' event once a year near the end of the season where they host teams from all over the world who create boats out of cardboard boxes, put them on skis, and ski down the easy portion of the slope. The whole town really got into theme with this because they had a concert in the village by a band dressed in sailor uniforms and boat shoes. The locals all had boating hats on! It was unique and a lot of fun. 

After a small dinner (we were still full from lunch), we headed back to the hotel and witnessed the Yacht Club skiing down the nearby slopes. There was a large crowd and apparently, it really is quite a big event. Although, after our full day, we decided to head in a little early and rented the movie Castaway from the front desk and had a chill night. Winston was pretty tired so he didn't mind! 


We had big plans for Sunday when we went to bed on Saturday night but I woke up in the middle of the night with the chills and looking very pale. So, due to me not feeling well, we decided to call it a trip and head back a little early. Nina and I were sad to not take full advantage of our 2nd day since it was a long drive, but I just really wasn't feeling it. We checked out of our nice hotel, packed up and headed back. We stopped in Bishop for brunch at a really nice bakery called Erick Schat's Bakery and had some tasty baked goods. It was the last day of Mule Days back in Bishop so we did some shopping while there but didn't get anything. 

After leaving Bishop, we again hit route 168 and Nina got sick again. She was a trooper and pushed through and we got home a few hours later. The big takeaway from our trip to Mammoth was that we went too early in the year. Devil's Postpile National Monument was still closed so we were unable to do the Rainbow Falls Hike and a few others. It opens early to mid June every year so I think in the future, we would go a few weeks later to get a little bit warmer weather and ensure that Monument was open. But overall, Mammoth Lakes was great and we highly recommend it! 

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