The Travel Diary: MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN
A six hour drive from Los Angeles lies a mountain retreat that most only think about visiting during the winter season. Mammoth is just as beautiful, and has a fraction of the visitors, during the spring and summer seasons. Peaks of green with white caps surround this California mountain valley and stunning aqua-blue lakes are scattered about the terrain. I arrived very late Friday night along with a car-full of friends and Chauncey the Golden Retriever. We spent our first night in telling stories and lounging in the hot tub, gazing at the white-hot perforations in the black sky. Living in LA, I am quick to forget how many stars are out every night, but was quickly reminded. We wrapped up our first evening with a nightcap cocktail by the fire, a pow-wow to remember.
The next day, we stopped for breakfast at The Stove, a local favorite and devoured stacks of pancakes before heading out for our first adventure. We asked around about a certain Heart Lake we had heard about. We were finally pointed in the right direction after asking several locals who weren’t too familiar. “Perfect!” I thought, if they don’t even know about it then it must be super obscure. We hiked an incline of a couple thousand feet and wandered into a hidden pocket of land and there it was, a pristine lake with no one around but the hawks soaring above. Chauncey was the first to dive in, you know, to test the waters. We all tore off our clothes and jumped in right after him. I made sure to drop a pin on my IPhone map so I can find this place again.
After a long day of hiking, swimming and fishing, we stopped by the local Von’s to pick up some BBQ goods. Better to stay at the cabin and have a mini-party than to schlep everyone to a restaurant where the food will most likely disappoint. After setting off the fire alarm several times as a result of cooking too close to the sliding glass doors, we pulled up our bootstraps and headed out to Hyde nightclub, an extension of the original location in LA. We quickly lost interest as we left LA to escape the scene, why would we want to jump right back in it in this serene location?
Our final day was spent lounging beside June lake. White sand covered the banks that led to grayish, dead trees. I imagine its due to the large amounts of sulphur in the water and soil, but needless to say, the area looked vaguely apocalyptic… amazing.
I find summer to be an excellent time to visit Mammoth as the mountains scream beauty during this lush season and the streets are virtually empty. I assume the tourists are at the beach? Regardless, this was a relaxing trip, perfectly fit for a rambling group of friends. You did us well, Mammoth and next time we see you, you will be dressed in white. Until winter!
BE SURE TO BUY YOUR FISHING LICENSE BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR MAMMOTH. PRICES ARE MUCH LOWER OFF-SITE and you will end up paying too much if you buy in the area. A fishing license will run you less than $20.