Nine days to kill in the Eastern Sierra — what a great problem to have.
Of course there was the usual mountain biking, most likely relegated to Lower Rock Creek or other non-Mammoth Mountain locations. We wandered into the eastern side of Yosemite Park a couple days, and also hit a lot of other trails and creeks and lakes. We made one unsuccessful trip to Laurel Lakes.
As always, we got to see and experience lots of cool new things.
While driving north on CA-395, we stopped to see the Olancha Sculpture Garden — this piece apparently inspired by The Simpsons.
600 inches of winter snow in the Sierras translates to a ton of snow remaining in July. Creeks are flowing fast and full, and lakes crept into the forests.
Saddlebag Resort was not open in July, and due to snow damage, would not be opening for the remainder of 2017. If you’re looking to purchase a resort in the high Sierras, this one is for sale. In the background is mostly-frozen Saddlebag Lake.
Non-plowed snow at the side of the road at Saddlebag Lake.
A photo sphere above Saddlebag Lake. Watch for pinkish Watermelon Snow.
And speaking of snow damage, the Tioga Pass Resort is also not opening for the season. Many cabins near the creek were still flooded.
Carol and I hiked a short section of the John Mu Trail in Tuolumne Meadows.
Hiking around Convict Lake:
Suncups near the base of Mammoth Mountain Resort topped with road cinders. Suncups form during the ablation of snowy surfaces.
The top of Mammoth Mountain in July — the smokey skies in the background are the result of burning wildfires on the western side of the Sierras.
Jan and Carol look at distant lakes from the top of Mammoth Mountain.
Mammoth is planning to be open for skiing and snowboarding through mid-August. Not so good for us mountain bikers — our only riding options were the baby trails at the bottom of the mountain — not worth a day’s lift pass.
Hell yeah there’s skiing at Mammoth in July — Smokey more than adequately proves the point:
Back in Yosemite again — this time on top of Pothole Dome, an easy hike with spectacular 360º views.
Rocks on the top of Pothole Dome left behind from receding glaciers 20-30 years ago.
The Tuolumne River experiencing a heavy flow this time of the year.
Lots of clear water flowing into Virginia Lakes — let’s celebrate by turning on our garden hoses!
Any more, it’s become a tradition to stop at the Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine. Awesome BBQ and even better BBQ sauce. Sorry foodies, no kale or tofu or keen-wah here.