Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mammoth Lakes

Last weekend we took  little trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA to spend some time with the girls in the great outdoors.  We typically try to go camping every summer but nixed that idea this year because of Rose's current sleeping abilities and our general lack of desire to subject other campers in tents listening to her cry during the night if she were to wake up.  At home, she does great in her crib, but in a pack-n-play or snuggling up with me in bed?  Not so much.  Instead we rented cute little cabin at Crystal Crag Resort on Lake Mary.  It definitely wasn't fancy but it was a charming place to stay since it seems like it hasn't been updated since the 1950's (and I mean that in the best way).  There was a tiny front room with fireplace, futon, kitchen (with a teeny-tiny stove and oven and fridge) and breakfast table, and a second room with a double bed with a little bathroom.  The first night was brutal, to be honest.  Both girls went down just fine but they didn't stay that way.  Rose slept out front on the futon with me and crawled around all night long, freaking out about the covers which I finally realized in a brain-addled haze of overtiredness somewhere around 4 a.m. was NOT because she wanted MORE covers (it was chilly and I kept covering her) but that she didn't want any covers at all!  Once we got that figured out, she did much better and the second night was not nearly so rough.

We had a little enclosed firepit behind our cabin so the first night we roasted Whole30 compliant hot dogs for dinner (no s'mores this trip - yay us!) and ate on the table on our cabin's little patio. 

Then we went down to the lake to try out a little lake fishing.  Paul bought Clara a fishing pole for her birthday so a big reason for this trip was to give her a chance to try it out.  She has been practicing casting in our backyard (and in the house, grrr....) for a couple of weeks and is getting pretty good at it actually.  Alas, the two of them had nary a nibble the whole weekend.

Lake Mary is popular for boating and there was a beached one that Rose enjoyed playing in while I took her picture.

One of the main reasons for this trip was to go see Devil's Postpile National Monument, which we have been wanting to visit for years now.  It is an easy hike in, although you have to pay for bus tickets from a central parking lot and can't drive yourself to the trailhead, which turned out to be problematic for us because we left our good camera in the car and there was no easy way to just go back and grab it.  So all the pictures we have were taken on our iPhones.  Oh well. 

The rock are called columnar basalt and they are a pretty rare occurrence were basically a lake of lava cooled over time and cracks formed that would go for about 10 inches between shooting away from each other at 120 degree angles, creating these hexagonal columns of rock.  There was a glacier involved somewhere in the forming process but I forget just how that came into play.  Anyway, it is fascinating from below to look up at the columns, which occasionally break away and create this tumbled pile of basalt.  But it is equally interesting to see it from the top where you stand on the flat hexagonal sort of tiles that are really just columns that haven't sheered away from the rest of the formation.  Another famous example of these is at Giant's Causeway in Ireland and it is on my list of places I want to visit. 

Rose did a good job hiking on the way in, but couldn't make it up the hill to the top of the formation on her own, so we switched her to the carrier and on the way down she fell fast asleep.  We were cracking up over how she would loll her head back in a dead slumber because it must have been so uncomfortable to sleep that way!

We made breakfast in the cabin each morning.  One great thing about Whole30 is how we got to eat these awesome breakfasts of sausages and eggs and bacon and country style fried potatoes with lots of fresh fruit.  I missed muffins and pancakes, but really, who can complain too much about bacon on a regular basis?  And the curtains in this kitchen, right? 

These are the kinds of memories I want the girls to grow up with - having good breakfasts in their pajamas while camping as a family.  So glad we got to go this summer.  Hopefully by next year Rose will be a much more consistent and resilient sleeper so we can do some actual camping and more of it.

There are lots of lakes in the Mammoth area and we tried to visit a few of them.  These pictures are from Convict Lake where back in the late 1800's some men from a Nevada prison hid out trying to evade capture.  They killed a deputy when he found the near here but then were later captured by a posse of men who killed two of them and sent the third convict who was only 19 years old back to prison.

Paul found out about a fish hatchery in the area so we took the girls to feed the fish.  They loved this activity and both of them were fascinated watching the fish eat the little pellets that the girls would throw in to them. 


Then we drove over to Hot Creek which is a protected fly-fishing area that Paul and his dad like to fish at where it is only catch-and-release and you aren't allowed to use barbed hooks.  We walked around for a little bit but it was getting late in the day and Rose was ready for her nap so we didn't stay long.

When we rented our cabin, we were given a boat rental for free for a day, so we went out on the lake in the afternoon to try fishing some more.  Paul and Clara didn't have any more luck than the previous night, but it was still nice being out on the water.  The girls mostly enjoyed being able to eat the lollipops they had picked out earlier in the day.

After dinner in Mammoth, we dove out to Mono Lake to find the "tufas" which are these cool rock formations that were originally formed underwater.  The level of the lake is rising so eventually many of these will be underwater again, but it won't be for years and years.  It was such an otherworldly, interesting place to explore and I would love to go back again.  But next time when we go in the evening we need to remember to bring warmer things because the wind was chilly even if the air temperature wasn't too bad.

Just two more photos that I snapped on our way out of Mammoth.  We had driven past Twin Lakes each time on the way to and from our cabin and it was just lovely, so I wanted to stop in the parking lot and take a quick picture.

And that was our Mammoth trip!


  1. Looks like a fun trip! I love all the photos but particularly the one of the girls in the boat enjoying their lollies. Rose's crossed ankles make her seem like such s big girl. And camping is pretty much out until 2017 for us.

  2. cool trip! I've never heard of those places. Now I want to go too!


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