Based on the persistent recommendations of friends in LA (that means you Tim), I recently took a drive up to central California to visit the eastern Sierras as well as Mammoth Lakes. I'd heard of the beauty of the area but had no idea what the area had to offer until I got there. About a five hour drive from Los Angeles, this community is worlds away from the city. Primarily a winter community known for skiing and snowboarding, this resort town is teeming with outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Fishing, mountain biking, hiking and boating to name just a few, this place is an outdoorsman's dream. I made the trek in mid-September which is considered off-season so many businesses and restaurants were closing early or shut down for the season. At times it seemed like a ghost town but, then again, that's why I pretty much do all of my traveling off-season.
Armed with a handfull of recommendations to occupy my time I immediately starting working at the top of the list. Taking in the beautiful mountain air (believe it or not it was in the 70's most of the time) I set out for Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls on Friday morning. About a 6 mile hike roundtrip, these features are not to me missed.
Saturday morning I drove about an hour north (just past Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park) to the world famous ghost town of Bodie. Once a thriving "metropolis" stemming from nearby gold mines, most of the city was destroyed long ago in two large fires, many years apart. Ruins as well as existing structures dot the once crowded dirt roads and California State Park Rangers give tours and historical briefings which bring it all into perspective. The Park is classified as being in a state of "arrested decay" meaning that they are not actively renovating the structures or exhibits but have rather frozen time and allowed dust to collect. Aside from reinforcing structures so they don't fall down - books, clothing, silverware and even poker chips were left where they were found. I actually prefer this over renovated historical locales as it lends authenticity to the experience. Bodie himself (or Bodey - no one knows for sure) is buried in the nearby cemetery overlooking the town.
To wrap up the week I hired a fishing guide through a local outfitter who introduced me to the sport of fly fishing. Not knowing exactly what I was getting into, I had a fantastic time and hooked plenty of Rainbow and Brown Trout while practicing my casts and "sets" in Hot Creek. Thanks to Josh and the guys at The Trout Fitter for their hospitality. I'll be back!!
After five days of fishing, photography and running from bears (sort of)...I returned to LA refreshed and energized. I hadn't really planned to take many photographs while in Mammoth but this area just begs to have it's picture taken. I spend a lot of time visiting out nation's parks and natural areas. I realized I spend a lot of that time being an observer, experiencing these wonderful places from behind a camera. The camera took a back seat on this trip and I truly engrossed myself in what this place had to offer. Hell, I went fishing!!! I can't tell you the last time I did that...I'll bet I was about twelve.
On this trip I accomplished much more than I had set out to...perhaps the most satisfying accomplishment was reintroducing myself to nature (without seeing it all through a viewfinder). Success.
PLEASE VISIT MY GALLERY FROM THIS TRIP AND SHARE THIS WONDERFUL PLACE WITH ME.