Back Side of Mammoth Mountain

Once over that vista point the road descends very steeply and as one single lane with epic drop-offs into a valley to the west of Mammoth Mountain. Here we head into Kennedy Meadow and then on to the trail to Rainbow Falls.

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The meadow was dry, due to the late September date, but surrounded by beauty

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From one end

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To the other, it was spectacular

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There was in fact a stream running through it, through the drought

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Which allowed these wildflowers to still be out, like larkspur

 

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And yarrow

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I think these are asters

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But back to the meadow

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The hills around it, mountains really, were just starting to have some spectacular color

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Better when zoomed in

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But the drought had claimed some victims

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And these

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These however, were felled by and even hotter menace

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A massive fire in the mid 1990’s devastated the area on the way to rainbow falls

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But as you can see, some regrowth was happening

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As the forest reclaims this area, you can see the summit station at the top of Mammoth

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This tree had really mesmerizing bark

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Looking across the valley, you could see a peculiar rock outcrop

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It is quite prominent here, that pair of trees on top is really cool. This is the formation that makes up Devil’s Postpile National Monument

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A bracken fern forest goes golden for the fall

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And then I reached the wilderness, one of the easier hikes into one I’ve had

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The wildflowers in the burn area are spectacular in the spring, but I also found this one in the fall

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A real prize view of the aspen grove turning a vibrant yellow

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Mammoth Mountain from the south-west

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Next time, the Rainbow Falls and Devil’s Postpile close up.

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Mammoth Lakes – Reflecting on the Pretty

The next stop on my easter sierra adventure was Mammoth Lakes, a series of beautiful lakes on the north side of the mountain. We’ll also head over to a vista point on the way to Devil’s Postpile.

 

Starting off, a dry looking Horseshoe lake

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Other than the volcanic activity described below, not sure what causes the levels to be variable enough for this much bare ground, but apparently the snow melt quickly drains to the lakes below

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The nearby mountains were spectacular

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Those sheer cliffs looked even bigger in person

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This is the southwest face of mammoth

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This is 25 year old tree kill caused by natural gasses coming out of the ground after a series of earthquakes

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This poor cabin is now uninhabitable

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Lots of evidence of continuing activity

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Such as this monitoring well

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The vistas here were nice

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Lots of contrast

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The sugar pine trees were immense, clearly hundreds of years old

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Looking back on the twin lakes

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A little closer

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Little closer

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Can you see the rockfall fan where the cliff has given way

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Down on lake george, the calm waters reflected the verdant and volcanic scenery

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Like wavy glass

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Little island

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Touch of fall color

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On with the trip

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Yikes, what a road I’ll need to head down, but such nice scenery

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Epic for sure

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That rock outcrop below is right where the national monument is, and my final destination on the trip

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More vistas

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The sawtooth ridge

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Mammoth from the west, can you spot the gondola?

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Next up, the wonderful meadows and creeks of Devil’s Postpile National Monument.

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Mammoth Mountain – Abandoned Mine

On my epic trip through the eastern sierra a real highlight was an old mining town and spectacular views of the area. I forgot my camera the first time and just had to hike it again for you all.

Here is some history on the mine, click on the picture for a larger version

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I camped by a rushing creek

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It was quite nice at the end of a long summer drought

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This was a calmer stretch

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I headed up the trail from the campground to explore

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And what a surprise! I usually know all about the places I visit beforehand but this was way more interesting than expected

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These very old buildings are in a state of slow decay, they used to house workers, shops and offices

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Some have succumbed to the elements, it snows quite a bit here

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Looks like it is doing pretty well

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But the back side shows it isn’t long for this world

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Onward and upward

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What is that up beyond the trees?

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Engines, not sure what these did but likely just mining equipment too heavy to haul off

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Perhaps water pipes

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More engines

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Adits are mine access shafts dug into the sides of mountains, more up

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Here is the mine entrance

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But all sealed off

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Beyond the gate is an endless series of tunnels

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Here is the south flank of the volcano Mammoth Mountain

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This is the red, mineralized earth they were mining

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Ski slopes are on the north face, so this is just natural mountain

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The views were expansive up here and well worth the climb

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Minaret peaks in the distance, I’ll be down in that valley later on

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A closer granite peak

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This is a bowl of mountains around the lake and creeks I camped at

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With enormous cliffs and spires

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A granite dome crops out of the bowl here

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Great views

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The few aspen groves were just starting to peak out with some vivid color

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A few more

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Next up is the lakes of the mammoth basin and perhaps a meadow too.

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Long Valley Hot Springs

On the way south from Mono Lake to the Mammoth Lakes and Mountain area, I stopped off at some hot springs in this geologically active part of eastern California.

All the mountains around here look volcanic in origin, and all of them have some connection to the deep earth

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But the light shone the way out to a valley with hot springs

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The immense mountains of the east sierra were always looming above

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This marble-colored mountain is Laurel mountain I think

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A little better contrast

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More light

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Here was one of my destinations

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The view from above was enough for me, the ravine was 150 feet down

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These springs are boiling hot and you can’t use them without getting burnt or killed, but in the past, it was less active and many people bathed here

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The springs keep moving, this fence isn’t that old, only a couple years

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The colors were vivid

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You can see some of the bubbling going on in this one

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The river here, or creek, flows past the area and this is one place you could potentially swim, but you can see some bubbles here too, indicating unstable volcanic activity and danger

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The creek flows on in a bright green ribbon

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The sky on this side of the state is so immense

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And the land flat

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Such vistas

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This was another destination, supposed to be a hot spring here…

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Oh, here it is, now where is that pool?

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Follow the piping

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And relaxation time!

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Next up: Abandoned mine and amazing views from mammoth lakes

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