Completely unrelated to food… we took a trip to Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevadas, just southeast of Yosemite, and I just had to share the pictures with you all.
We’ve been trying to take some time during the pandemic to explore parts of California we haven’t seen before, but that are also relatively social-distance-able. So Mammoth naturally was top of the list for us! Unfortunately with all the wildfires this year, we weren’t sure if it would be doable, but it ended up being just lovely. The smokiness was definitely a thing, though, so if you’re sensitive and contemplating a trip, I’d definitely wait.
For anyone not up on California life- we’re having yet another record wildfire year (because why not… it’s 2020 after all). The Creek Fire is the fire that is affecting the Mammoth area and has burned though over 300,000 acres. While the Mammoth area was determined to be safe in terms of fire risk, there was still a decent amount of air quality issue, so if you’re planning a trip and are sensitive, make sure to check the air quality index ahead of time.
(In our experience the smokiness was concentrated further south closer to Mammoth, and the further north we went the smoke cleared out quite a bit).
McGee Creek was the smokiest area we went to, but it was oh so beautiful. The smoke cast an eerie dusk-like glow to the sky during late afternoon (these photos were from around 4pm). It was a lovely and private setting, and there was a very pleasant and easy trail off the trailhead (located here). And there was a convenient parking lot that had plenty of open spots.
June Lake Loop
This was the most popular area we went to, and for good reason. While more crowded than the other places we went, we were still able to locate parking for some of the best views (here’s the place we found parking, for anyone who is looking), and we still felt like there was enough breathing room that we could comfortably socially distance from others. There were many small walkways through the grove of aspens and from every angle you were surrounded by gold. (Also, the smokiness was not noticeable at all to me either, which was a huge plus!)
Lundy Canyon Beaver Ponds
I wish I had gotten more pictures of Lundy Canyon because it was so gorgeous! Our toddler was napping so we decided to stay in the car for this part of the trip, but it would have been so lovely to get out and take a hike through the beaver ponds. These shots are all just what I could grab out of the window of the car. But, wow this Lundy Canyon area was probably the most generally scenic of all the spots we visited. The mountains had cascades of yellow trees dotting the hillsides amongst the pines, and the ponds were true to their name and full of beaver dams! It was very very cool. Highly recommended!