My next stop after Jackson Hole was the quaint, hippie ski town of Mammoth Lakes, California. My family has been coming out to Mammoth for over 15 years now, having found a great spot that fulfilled all summertime family reunion prerequisites – fly fishing for the men, hiking and horseback riding for the women. This visit to Mammoth there were about 18 of my aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces/nephews, etc. who already happened to be out there, so it was great timing for me to stop in after Jackson.
My first hike in Mammoth was Bennetville Trail, a fairly flat route that took about four hours, covering a variety of terrain. We went about a mile and half in, surrounded by lush foliage and blue lakes the whole way, stopping for a lunch and fishing break halfway through. The trail continued for a few more miles, and even though my six-year-old nephew was full of energy and ready to keep going, we were a little afraid he wouldn’t appropriately gauge his energy range for the way back, so we turned around after lunch.
The next day, my sister, niece and nephew and I all took a drive out to Mono Lake, a saline soda lake that was formed over 760,000 years ago. Its lack of outlet to any other body of water is what causes limestone formations, known as the ‘tufa,’ to build up around the water’s edges. The area that we visited (with the most convenient parking and a $5 conservation fee) is called the South Tufa, has the most formations of the whole lake. It’s easy to get to from Highway 395, with an exit just off the road, right outside the town of Lee Vining.
(all photos taken on iPhone 5s. click image to view full size in light box)