As the ski season slowly melts away, every year there is the annual ski or snowboard over the pond. The objective is to decorate yourself in an amusing way, start down the hill on your ski/snowboard and then try and ski/snowboard across the 20 yard pond. Always good entertainment to watch as there are many a good crashes, but sometimes they make all the way across and sometimes they just run out of gas and sink in the water.
Just a mile East of town off of Old Mammoth Road in the middle of Mammoth Creek is a live, working, habited, beaver dam. The beaver family has been quite active in making the dam structure. Of interesting note, is that beavers are not natural residents of the Sierra's and that this beaver family was probably one imported into the area in the 1800's by beaver trappers.
We had to cross what we referred to as the "dreaded rocks". This area, located on the north side of Ruby Lake, stood in the way of our destination, which was Lookout Peak. If you enlarge the picture, you can see us picking our way through. The second photo shows another set of rocks at the base of Ruby Lake. Areas such as these can really slow you down unless you're particularly agile, which I am not, and can make a 4 mile hike take considerably longer than one would expect. Especially when you factor in the altitude at about 11,000 feet at this point.
Climbing down can be slippery and wobbly, as the rocks, appearing sturdy, can topple over after you step on one, sending you sprawling on yet more rocks. My knees are still purple. The worst part of crossing back over this area late in the day was knowing that we'd be doing it again as part of next month's journey- an attempt at Mount Abbot.
The upside of the dreaded rock field is that, once you're through, its a nice and easy walk on a dirt trail free of rocks for two miles to the parking lot at Mosquito Flats.
McGee creek is located off old highway 395, about 10 miles from Rock Creek and the Mosquito Flats trailhead. This is a popular fishing spot and jumping off point for hiking trips and other excursions into the Sierras. It is a somewhat isolated spot bordering the small town of Crowley and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Which is what makes it popular. The area was once used for skiing, but the slopes and fanfare have since migrated to Mammoth Lakes
We stayed at the tiny McGee Creek Lodge in a small but pleasant and affordable room which overlooked McGee Creek Canyon, shown in the photo.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul
About an hour's hike from Ruby Lake, past a pretty trecherous section of rocks and up a slightly steep grade, we found a patch of grass nearby a lake of glacial runoff. It was the perfect spot for lunch. After lunch, the guys continued up a steep slope of rocks to the base of Mount Abbot, to scout the conditions for next month's excursion. I was tired from too little sleep and too much altitude and chose to stay behind. I found some shade beneath a large bolder and dozed off, lulled by the gentle sound of running water. We didn't see a single other person in this area.
I now understand why John Muir fell in love with the Sierras and spent so much time exploring and then seeking to conserve this great wilderness area that now bears his name. Serenity fails to describe the scene or the feeling of being their. Peace, calm and tranquility were found in this isolated area, merely miles away yet seemingly a great distance from the hectic and draining world we ironically refer to as civilization. Dwarfed by both mountains and the humbling power of nature, I slept and then rejuvenated. There could not have been a more perfect spot or a more perfect day.
There are fish hatcheries where fish are harvested. The one that we saw was for trout and there were thousands of them! You can even buy fish pellets and feed them. Some of them get aggressive and others jump over their little fences to get to the next trough. Also, don't forget to say hello to the cows on your way to the hatcheries and hot springs! :)
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