Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierras

(Note: Due to some unknown technical glitch, photos got deleted from my most recent posts, so this is a reprint, hopefully glitch free.)

Glass Creek, a national parks campground in the Inyo Nat’l Forest, was our next home for a while. This was a very large, spread out amongst the trees, boondocking campground along Glass Creek, and very popular judging by the number of rigs there. It was only about 8-9 miles north of Mammoth Lakes right off of Hwy 395. We stayed 4 nights here while we did some short distance sight-seeing. Upon our first arrival, skies were crystal-clear blue (yippee kayay, a break from all the wildfire smoke!) and temps were in the 70-80 range. However, after a couple of days the smoke found it’s way to us and, whammo!, we were back in the “thick” of it.

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Our home at Glass Creek Campground in the Inyo Forest.

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Yup, here come ‘da smoke!

Our first sight-seeing trek was to the ghost town of Bodie, a California State Park, just north and east of Mono Lake. Bodie was a large, boomtown mining town from the 1850’s during the heydays of big gold and silver strikes. What remains today is about 5% of the number of original buildings, and there is about 100 or so buildings still standing in various stages of decline. There are a couple of the buildings you can actually walk into and see up close. Looking through the windows of most buildings, you can see the interiors as they were abandoned, furnishings, appliances, and knick-knacks included. A self-guiding walking tour pamphlet you can buy for $2 gives some history of the town, it’s people, and many of the buildings. Very interesting if your into ghost towns…

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Welcome to the wild west town of Bodie.

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Abandoned mining equipment is scattered all over the town.

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For all their bad reputations, folks still had time for church.

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The shops on the hill in the background are off limits to tourist visitors due to safety concerns, but the rest of the town is accessible.

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The winter weather here in this area can be pretty drastic. This was a small mill that processed all the firewood residents used during the harsh winters

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Some of the houses are in pretty good shape still…

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Anybody gotta use the can?

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Everyone gets a ride in this beauty, eventually!

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Looking through the window inside one of the shops.

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A kitchen as it was left, inside one of the houses you can walk into.

For another installment into the “eerie land formations” category, the tufa towers at the south side of Mono Lake are a must-see. These are limestone formations, similar to ones commonly seen inside caves but these are outdoors. They are formed totally underwater when calcium from underwater springs bubbles up through the carbonate enriched waters of Mono Lake and the reaction creates the solid “towers” underwater. Over time, the lake level has dropped, exposing the towers we see today. Feels like you’re on another planet, walking among the formations.

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It’s a short trail, right through the heart of the beast…

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Some of the towers with Mono Lake in the background.

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Hey, Jeanne, you’re not very good at this hide-n-seek!

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Out of this world!

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A little greenery mixed in with the towers.

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Tufa Island, or a prehistoric beast surfacing from below? You be the judge…

Of course, no visit to Mammoth Lakes area is complete without checking out Devil’s Post Pile Nat’l Monument or any of the other area attractions like Rainbow Falls. Most are short hikes to get to and scenic to say the least. Unfortunately, we went too early in the day to the Rainbow Falls. If you wish to see the falls, complete with rainbow, I would suggest planning to arrive there in early to mid-afternoon so the sun can be in position to do his thing. Morning hours the falls are in shade.

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Devil’s Post Pile with crumbled posts in the foreground. Nature sure is amazing…

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The wall of posts, a closer view.

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Rainbow Falls, sans rainbow, just our luck…

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The hike to the falls takes you through the area affected by this fire 23 years ago.

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This is what a burnt down forest looks like, 23 years after the fact.

Enough of the high country escapades. We are crawling our way toward the southern Utah Nat’l Parks, so from Mammoth Lakes it was off to Lost Wages, NV for a few nights of sin and debauchery (aka: FUN!). Jeanne found the Main St. Station casino/brewery/hotel on the north side of town as our next home. They have a fully paved RV lot with FHU’s for $17 per night, walking distance to any kind of trouble you wish to get into. And since we had good luck and a good time at the Paris casino next to Bally’s last time we were here, we just HAD to make a return appearance. It proved very fruitful again, the cards were falling our way at the Pai Gow tables. I definitely made a Pai-Gow-Junkie out of Jeanne, I am so ashamed of myself! But, just as those same pesky smoky skies began to encroach on our space again, we prepared to pack up and leave for southern Utah, only about 135 miles away. Costco run, check. Walmart run, check. Filled up Jeep with gas, check. As Robin usually said to Batman as they prepared to drive out of the batcave, “batteries to power…turbines to speed…” & Batman replied, “Ready to move out…”

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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