Monday, October 26, 2020

Mammoth Monday

Two weekends ago the hubby, pup and I jumped in the AdventureMobile and pointed it north towards Mammoth Lakes. And, yes, if you're counting, it was THREE DAYS after we got home from our Truckee/ Tahoe trip. The turnaround was tight (especially when I'm gone from 8:45am till 7:15pm for work, plus the time I'm running) and I don’t know if I'd do it again, but we made it work because who knows what natural disaster is on the horizon or when we'll be able to go again...

Similar to our previous camping trip, we had everything packed and ready to go so that we could hit the road when I got off work Thursday evening. Although I'm totally an early bird, the hubby is definitely a night owl and prefers to leave for trips in the evening to avoid driving through the warmest part of the day... If he's willing to drive, I'm willing to ride ;)

We left Carlsbad by about 7:15 PM and made great time. We decided to stay in Alabama Hills on BLM land Thursday night. The area was a bit crowded already, but we were able to find a spot after a few minutes of looking and set up camp. I think we got into our sleeping bags shortly before midnight, once all was said and done. Even if I would have preferred extra shut eye, I set my alarm so it'd wake me up prior to dawn because I love watching the world wake up in Lone Pine.

Usually we like to pack everything we plan to eat on our adventures with us (tends to be more economical and saves time, not to mention more self sufficient with less outside contact during a pandemic), but the hubby really loves the Alabama Hills Cafe & Bakery and raves about it whenever we're in the area so we made an exception for breakfast Friday morning.

After filling our tummies with some scrum-didly-umptious food, it was time to hit the road again. Like the last trip, the hubby was "on the clock" and needed to get some work done, so I drove while the hubby got his design on. #teamwork


Originally when we were planning this trip I was working Monday through Friday, but recently they had to cut some of our hours due to the slowing of the economy. With that said, I'm now off on Fridays. This is perfect for trips when we can leave Thursday night and make it a long weekend. Because we technically added Friday to the trip after we had already booked our original accommodations, we had to snag a site at a different campground for Friday night {Oh Ridge Campground}.

We got to the campground fairly early and weren't sure if we'd be able to check in or not, but did a little "drive-by" of our spot and saw it was empty. While getting the lay of the land we saw a camp host who said we could check in - SCORE!

Similar to the previous weekend, I figured I'd get in a little running while the hubby finished up the work he had to do. The hubby checked out AllTrails and Google Maps and said I should be able to run around June Lake and get in about 6 or so miles. I figured I'd do the loop and then check back with him to see what his work status was (and whether I had time to head out for another lap or if he could pack up his computer and we could go so some exploring around the area). 

And, if you know me, you know that although I may be great at some things (okay, maybe not great, but at least mediocre), directions are NOT a strong suit of mine... The hubby is awesome at them. We can be out in an area for the first time and he remembers a specific tree or a certain trail. I, on the other hand, could get lost inside of a paper bag... So, as I'm sure you can imagine, although the hubby went over the exact route with me before I left, I still missed a turn!

One positive about the extra mileage was that when I got back to the campground the hubby had just finished everything he needed to get done and was able to pack up his work goodies so we could head out for a family hike. #PerfectTiming

We decided to hike around Gull Lake. The loop around the lake is about 2 miles, which was perfect to keep our "Walt Walk Streak" intact. We figured it'd be a great way for the hubby and pup to stretch their legs after working for the morning (ha, of course Walt hadn't been "working"... unless you consider barking at chipmunks and digging in the dirt work).

The fall colors were awesome (mostly greens and yellows, but more "fall" than we're used to in SoCal... because palm trees don't change colors for the seasons ;)). We also were able to check out the campground on the lake for a future trip.

When we got back to the campground the hubby went to the lake to throw in his fishing line and I laid down. (TMI, but 95% of the time I eat completely plant-based {eating cheese every week or two when we go to our favorite Mexican spot}, but had a breakfast burrito that morning and the eggs/ cheese did NOT sit well with me... I may have had to pull over for an emergency jump-in-the-woods potty break on my run earlier in the day and things were still feeling a bit "off".)

Eventually it was time to make some dinner and call it a night. The hubby had picked up a book from our community "library" before we left, so after enjoying our ramen we both pulled out our books and got our read on. 

Since we were changing campgrounds on Saturday, the game plan was to wake up, go for a run, pack up camp, get in a hike and then meet up with some friends who were coming up to Mammoth. After breakfast the hubby and I were able to get in a little over 4 miles on fire roads and trails near the campground before we had to pack up the AdventureMobile.

Once we got everything ready (it literally takes like 2 minutes), we checked out some of the trails near us on AllTrails and decided on Fern Lake Trail. Originally we were thinking we would look for a hike the pup could do with us, but eventually opted for something the two of us could hike/ run (while Walt hung in the truck since the temps were still plenty cool).

Let's just say it's a good thing Walt hung out in the truck because the trail was TOUGH! It was legit straight up for a mile and a half. We climbed about 1,500 feet in the 1.5 miles. Don't get me wrong, the views were AMAZING and the lake itself you hike to is AWESOME, but you definitely have to earn every step! A quad and lung burner FOR SURE!

Surprisingly we were actually able to run some of the downhill (originally I thought it would be too steep and rocky, but we were able to find a decent amount of the trail that we could pick up speed and chug along on). On the way up we only saw maybe 4 or 5 people, but once we started heading back down we started seeing a few more folks. Everyone was respectful to maintain social distance, but I was glad we started earlier when we had less hikers to contend with.

When we got back to the truck we walked the pup for a quick second, made our banana and nut butter wraps and jumped in the truck to head towards Mammoth Lakes and our campground {New Shady Rest Campground} for the evening (where we were planning to check in and meet up with our friends before making an afternoon adventure plan). 

The weather in the June Lake area (about 12 miles north of Mammoth Lakes) was gorgeous while we were there. You could see a little of the smoke from the wildfires here or there, but it was 90% clear skies with a low AQI {air quality index}. Well, let's just say that driving towards Mammoth was totally a different story. It legit looked like the apocalypse. We knew as we were driving in that hanging out around the campground for the afternoon would not be in our best interest. 

After consulting with our friends, we decided to try and get out of dodge (that's the saying, right?!). We figured an afternoon out and about would be much preferred than sitting in the ash and soot in the air at the campground.

As you can see from the pictures, the air quality at the hot and cold springs still wasn't amazing, but it was actually much better than what it was at the campground! Around 5pm we started to pack up our stuff and the pups to head to camp. The hubby and I made chick'n pasta while our friends went out to dinner. We also enjoyed Fireball and Cider (my fave fall drink), then made s'mores over the burner (with all the fire restrictions, this is the only way to make my go-to camp treat!).

When our friends got back we went over to their trailer to play a mean game of Skip*Bo (okay, it wasn't mean at all, but isn't that a phrase the kids are saying these days?!). One of the things I have missed the most during COVID and all of the social distancing is interaction with our friends, so even if this was very limited, it still made my heart smile!


Sunday morning came and the air quality actually didn't seem too bad near the campground so before everyone else got up and moving I decided I would go out for a run. The hubby and I looked up a route for me to take and decided on the Town Loop. I took a bunch of screenshots of critical intersections and turns (it was very well marked but I still always second guess myself, so better safe than sorry, right?!), then put on my shoes, filled my handheld and away I went.

The loop is pretty awesome. Think of it as a bicycle trail/ path around the outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes (duh, like the name suggests ;)). There is a bit of elevation, but everything was paved and nicely maintained.

I'm sure you could have guessed, but even with all the preparation, I still missed a turn... I even pulled out my phone to triple check, but I swear the sign was pointing straight instead of right, so I thought maybe they had added a new connector trail... Obviously I was wrong, but found an awesome back road that connected me with the main trail. 

Even after refinding the trail, I lost it again when I got into town and ended up just running a route I knew would get me to the campground. With all the detouring I ended up getting a little over 9 miles (the trail is supposed to be 7.3...).

Once I got back we packed up and decided to head to June Lake (since the air had been clear when we were there). I had a call I needed to be on from 10:30-11:30am, but thankfully we had plenty of service and I could log in remote.

After I got my "work" done I was able to hang out for a bit. Walt and his doggy friend chased ducks away from the shore, we all took turns taking the paddleboards out on the lake and just hung out - soaking in the sun and the company.

Originally the trip was booked through Monday, but the hubby made a boo-boo and cancelled the campground for Sunday night (he thought he had booked it incorrectly and without asking me first, he cancelled it...). He forgot the trip was supposed to be Saturday - Monday {but when my hours got cut we added Friday}. It turned out okay, especially with the less than stellar air quality at the campground. We packed up the AdventureMobile after lunch and away we went. 

The drive home went fine, even with Google having us take the 395 to the 5 and going through Hell.A. L.A. And seeing as I already had taken Monday off I was able to have the following morning to do laundry, clean out the AdventureMobile, get in a run while taking care of some errands and just take a couple deep breaths before starting the week back up. As with all of our trips, we were grateful to have had the time together to unplug {my phone is normally on airplane mode as soon as we leave San Diego County}, reset {especially with the craziness of the election coming} and enjoy nature. 

And, before I close, I obviously need to send a huge THANKS and a ton of LOVE to the firefighters and first responders out battling the blazes in California and elsewhere! You all ROCK OUR SOCKS! We don't have the words to truly express our appreciation, but please know we are forever grateful for you and all of your life-saving efforts!

Have you ever been to Mammoth Lakes before?

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