Friday, August 23, 2013

Things to do in Mammoth, Part IV: Gondola to Mammoth Mountain

Catch up on the rest of the series here! 

On our fourth day in Mammoth, Tim, Daisy, and I hopped on one of the free busses downtown and rode to the base of Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. Today was the day we would ride the scenic gondola to the top. Tickets were 31 bucks a person which isn't exactly cheap, but that included a lunch at the top and we had been wanting to do this since coming to Mammoth, so we splurged a little!

The mountain's main draw in the summer is biking--any trail you can ski on during the winter could be taken down on the mountain bike too! It was a serious trip; all this terrain park under the snow. We weren't going to be riding bikes this time, though; that would be tomorrow.  Today, we'd just enjoy the view, have some lunch, and hike down. Piece of cake!

The pup had to be carried onto the moving gondola, but once she was on it she loved it!

The gondola took us to the summit of Mammoth Mountain, which is the tallest mountain in the area, so we could see for miles. It was gorgeous! It was so bright up there that the dirt still kind of looked like snow, right?

The top was a bit crooked, so you had to lean a bit walking across it ;)
The tippy-top of Mammoth Mountain!
Daisy is grinning for the picture too haha

Before heading into the Summit Lodge for lunch, we enjoyed the scenery for a little while. It was windy but not unpleasant, and the was about 65 degrees or so compared to the 90* at the foot of the mountain. Not that bad! We just wore pullovers we'd picked up at one of the million winter clearance sales all across Mammoth. Mine was a Patagonia I'd snagged for 75% off!!!

After lunch, we began the hike down. It was at this point that I noticed we had very little camera charge, so we don't have many pictures of the trek down. From the summit, like in the winter, the trails are all Black diamond or Double Black diamond, and we chose the longest possible path to maximize that $31 we paid to get up there. Switchbacks snaked the mountain, and the lower we got, the hotter it got.

I don't know if you do a lot of skiing or spend much time in the mountains, but after a certain altitude, you don't tend to see a lot of trees. I the winter, it's not so bad; there's snow and wind and its nice and cool. In the summer, though, when its 90 degrees and dusty and the sun is baking down on you, the lack of trees SUCKS. The lack of streams and rivers and lakes was like the icing on the cake.

As we descended, it got HOT, and it was a long hike down. We brought water for ourselves and the dog, but we were used to hiking where streams and lakes were present so we could just filter more when our bottles were empty and it was no trouble to cool our feet off in the water. There was ONE small lake about two thirds down the mountain, which took us maybe two hours to reach. The heat, combined with the granite gravel surrounding the lake, was too much for our pup.

Tim carried her the last stretch to the river, and once she flopped in and found a spot in the water that was shaded, she perked right up. We took a nice long break around the lake to be sure everyone was recovered before finishing the last stretch of green trails back to the lodge and the bus stop.

Near the bottom of the mountain, on one of the Green slopes. Cars would drive up and down this one, so Daisy was leashed. The rest of the time, she just ran free!
 We would definitely recommend taking the gondola and hiking down the mountain to anyone, but do bring plenty of water! Next time we visit we will rent bikes and try taking the paths down that way, but I think we'll leave Daisy behind that time.

1 comment:

  1. wow, its pretty epic when you have to carry your DOG home!


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