March 6-9, 2003
random trip report
Ron and I drive up highway 50,
passing an enthusiastic anti-war demonstration
by high-school students in South Lake Tahoe,
and rendezvous with Gedye at the
Spooner Summit snow-park at the junction of highways 28 and 50.
On our return, Ron attempts the double-black-diamond
kiddie toboggan area, and wipes out real good.
We drive three hours to Lee Vining,
making a side trip to the Twin Lakes area near Bridgeport
to scope out Mt. Walt and the Sawtooth range.
Fantastic - a return trip is definitely called for.
We drive out to the Mono cinder cones to try to find the
legendary camping site,
and to locate some stars using Dave's new Miller Starfinder.
The next morning we drive to 'The Breakfast Club' in the town of Mammoth Lakes, where we meet our guide S.P. (a wiry New Zealander) and the fourth client, Boris (from Germany by way of L.A.). There's a confusion about the time - we were told 7 AM but S.P. and Boris arrive at 7:30. So be it.
We eat breakfast, rent gear for Dave and Boris,
drive up 395 to the Obsidian Dome turnoff,
and park at the end of the road.
S.P. explains the use of avalanche beacons.
Then we ski around the obsidian dome
and go up a 1,500' hill called Chicken Wing.
S.P. teaches us the uphill and downhill kick-turns, and we zig-zig our way up the hill. It's fairly hard work, and it doesn't help the my skins are somewhat ineffective and I slip a lot.
We reach the top of the hill, lounge on some rocks, and eat lunch.
Then there's a long flat trudge to the car. We're all very tired and grumpy. It hasn't been as much fun as we hoped.
Ron, Dave and I check into our cabin at Tom's Place.
It's rustic - no phone or TV, and the loudest heater I've ever heard.
The next day is more fun.
We meet up at Tom's Place,
and discuss the high level of alcohol use among their clientele.
S.P. tells us a story involving a naked drunk and a black Labrador
which I can't repeat in its entirety.
Then we pile into S.P.'s 4WD and drive to a canyon near Mt. Tom.
We say goodbye to Boris and S.P.
(although I accidentally leave my parka in S.P.'s truck and have to
return to his house to pick it up later).
We decide to cook in our kitchenette at Tom's Place,
and we drive to the Von's in Mammoth where we buy
a leg of lamb and a bunch of other stuff.
Ron cooks a fabulous dinner.
The next day we're ready for something non-strenuous
(I, in particular, have tremendously sore back and calves).
We drive up to Convict Lake and walk halfway around it,
admiring the views of Mt. Morrison.
Then we drive up the road to Hot Creek and take an extended dip.
The water alternates hot and cold.
Ron and Dave compare back hair.
Then we continue up to Mono Lake and do the Tufa Tour.
Then we drive through Lee Vining and Bridgeport looking for coffee,
but everything is closed for the season (even Mono Cone).
Finally we stop at a Starbucks in Carson City,
transfer gear, and say goodbye to Dave,
who takes this great picture across the street.
Ron and I enjoy the drive back to Berkeley. Unfortunately, Bobbi (who has my only house key) is not there when we arrive, slightly reminiscent of another trip.