Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 4: Inyo Craters Hike.

Daniel carried the Camelbak on this hike.

We walked a short trail out to a set of three craters created hundreds of years ago. Love the formations that occur because of volcanic activity.

The first crater just dropped hundreds of feet into the ground.

At the bottom was a turquoise pool of water.

We walked over to the second crater, located right next to the first. It was larger and had a greener pond at the bottom.

Then Daniel, Mark, and I began the scramble up the sheer face of the third crater. If you look closely, you can see a blue figure in the center of this photo, Daniel's mom.

The scramble was short but exhausting (as you can tell by my exhausted face). And it turns out this crater had a lot less room to stand on.

Or none. We literally straddled the ridge.

It was a little bit of a shock to find such a steep edge at the top. And the views were just as unexpected.

We climbed inside the crater, a less steep descent.

We found an easier path through the opposite side of the crater.

Mark pointing at the tip of the crater ridge, which he climbed to (in sandals, no less) and which Daniel and I decided we'd stay just underneath.

Afterward, we drove over to June Lake and had our lunch.

And played on the swings.

Then Daniel's dad gave us a tour of the area.

We glimpsed a waterfall that looked strikingly like bird droppings.

We also rounded Mono Lake.

We stopped at Convict Lake to skip rocks and watch the sunset.

And then we headed back for a wonderful dinner and dessert.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 3: Devil's Postpile to Rainbow Falls.

We took a shuttle out to the trailhead.

Devil's Postpile was formed in a specific chemical reaction following a volcanic eruption. The spew hardened into these towering geometric shapes.

We hiked up to the top and found a tiled roof of hexagons.

And then we continued hiking.

Pretty columbine hid under fallen logs.

We passed the San Joaquin River.

It was quite swift and a little dangerous-looking.

Daniel's delightful photo skills.

Unripe gooseberry.

Mariposa lily. These sometimes grew singly, sometimes in great bunches.

The last leg of this hike wound through an area that burned in 1992. It's still struggling to regrow.

The charred trunks were startling against the mountain blue sky.

And at the end of the trail was Rainbow Falls, an aptly named waterfall that continually throws a rainbow band outward.

We hiked down into the glade and ate lunch by the cascading water.

And then we hiked back up.

Daniel made faces.

I was captivated by a chickadee.


Silly tree.

Magical wildflowers.

And a return shuttle to round out the trip.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 2: Crystal Lake hike.

We visited this beautiful waterfall above Twin Lakes before beginning our hike.

The hike had superb views around every switchback.

Action shot. Daniel's dad used to come up to the Mammoth Lakes area multiple times a year during his childhood, so he knew all kinds of great things to do.

Piles of iced-over snowdrifts still lay in the shadows in July.

Gorgeous little wildflowers stuck their heads up along the way.

We could get only knee-deep in the Crystal Lake waters. It was quite toe-numbing.

Mammoth Mountain is volcanic, so you can find pumice everywhere. Litmus test: It floats!

I was the Camelbak carrier.

My signature pose, of course.

We found a delightful snowy overhang frozen mid-fall.

And we went butt-sledding.

The way down was just as beautiful.