Mammoth Mountain High

For the month of August 2016, we have found lodging in the mountain resort town of Mammoth Lakes, California. Once acclimatized to the high altitude, we hope to climb to the roof of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and explore the area’s explosive geology and other natural wonders. 

Sunstone and Ski Lift Small_tonemapped

Our summer ski-up condo

The town of Mammoth Lakes is best known as a winter ski destination. When the snow thaws in the summer, the skiers go home, and the mountain trails expose themselves to hikers and bikers alike. Taking advantage of the off-season rental rates, we established our base of operations in a deluxe ski-up condo at the base of Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth Mountain Gondola Small_tonemapped

High altitude Mammoth Mountain Gondola

The plush pillows on which we are resting our heads each night lie at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500 m). In the first few days at the heightened elevation, we have experienced some fatigue, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, and frequent headaches. As our bodies adjust to the reduced barometric pressure and resulting decrease in the oxygen content in our blood, we are focused on achieving a lofty goal.

Es Crossing Creek on PCT Small_tonemapped

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail near Mammoth

By lottery, we obtained a permit to hike to the top of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain peak in the Sierra Nevada range, and the highest point in the contiguous 48 states. To prepare for this summit ascent, we are on a training regimen that includes day hikes of increasing distance and elevation gain. Fortunately, the Mammoth Lakes area is home to hundreds of scenic and challenging trails, crisscrossing a massive complex of granitic and volcanic terrains.

Boulders and Es Small_tonemapped

Esther lifting the Buttermilk Boulders

Situated along the base of the Sierra Nevada range, Mammoth Lakes lies within one of the world’s largest volcanic calderas. As a geologist, I think that the best way to study the earth is to clamber around on its landforms. Here, we have an entire textbook of geologic examples to crawl over.

Hot Creek Springs Small_tonemapped

Hot Creek Springs (too hot for bathing)

After all the hiking and climbing around, our weary muscles will require medication and treatment. Mercifully, the recent volcanic activity here has produced numerous hot springs that continue to bubble to the surface. We will be on the look-out for these naturally soothing thermal baths, so that we can live to hike another day.

Bear Swimming Small_tonemapped

Lizzie is staying home with Granny this month. We think this bear we saw is almost as cute!


9 thoughts on “Mammoth Mountain High

    • Hi Sue & Dave, Thank you for checking in on us. We are so close to home that we still receive our local television news channels, yet feel a world away in this mountainous geologic wonderland. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This looks like a hoot of at time, although I’m a bit leery about having to “train” in order to climb Mt. Whitney. Not sure that I would have the dedication or perseverance. And most importantly, why are those behemoth rocks known as the Buttermilk Boulders? My mind went to a very interesting place with that title…

    Liked by 1 person

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