Sunday, June 16, 2013

* Sometimes It's Good To Not See The Signs

My two hiking buddies Robyn & Jen, Robyn's dog Maddie, and I left L.A. late Friday evening, heading northbound to Mammoth where my friend Robyn has a place she rents for the season, to spend the weekend hiking in the surrounding elevations. We arrived at our accommodations close to midnight and quickly made it to bed to get some rest for the next day's hike at the Yosemite National Park. 

The next morning, we packed our backpacks, and had breakfast at the lovely Breakfast Club in Mammoth Lakes.

Photo Credit: Jen Hulme

While we were discussing which trail to hike that morning, a very nice gentleman came by our table and offered to give us some pointers on several different trails. Good people still exist, and they appear when least expected! Per his very informative directions, we decided to do the May Lake hike. Of course, we had to stop at Whoa Nellie Deli - the gas station with Michelin star - to get our provisions for the hike ahead.

After entering the Yosemite National Park, and finding the parking lot at the May Lake trail head, we put on our hiking shoes, and started down the path that was right next to where we parked. We  all were very surprised how we kept going downhill, and just as we were talking about how the hike back will be badass, we ran into a father-son duo hiking towards where we came from. They asked us if we saw the lake. What? Apparently we did not see the signs to the May Lake trail, and started down a wrong path. Oh well, we took in the beautiful scenery, and decided, we would be doing a 5-mile hike instead of a 2-miler.

We completed the trail we were on, and back at the parking lot, we found the beautiful start of the trail to May Lake.

The hike to May Lake, although short, is steep and rocky, but the reward at the end is worth the trouble. We had our lunch in the presence of this magical view:

On the way back to Mammoth, we stopped at the Shepard's Hot Springs - a tiny little bathing hole in the ground in the middle of nowhere - and soaked our tired bodies in the warm water while we soaked our insides with some adult beverages:

Dinner was had at the local Smokeyard BBQ and Chop Shop, and our exhausted & well-fed bodies found their ways to bed rather early that night. Sunday morning, we had a quick bagel breakfast, and drove to the Devil's Postpile National Monument for a farewell hike before we returned home. This geological formation had me mesmerized with it's hexagonal posts formed by a volcanic eruption. Mother Nature is capable of unimaginable surprises.

This was an amazing trip where I got to visit parts of California I have not seen before, and learned about the geological wonders of the surrounding national parks. But I also learned a great deal about my friends, and myself! My heroic hiking friends are capable of scaring bears away by singing drunken bar songs at the top of their lungs:

"We drink to the guys who do
We drink to the guys who don't
We drink to the guys who say they will
But then they really won't..."

We are invincible!

And the best part was on the way back home with Robyn at the steering wheel, and Jen as the navigator, making origami flowers for Jen's wedding with sweet Maddie's tired head resting against my leg, and listening to the steamy and/or hilarious country music streaming from Robyn's Pandora station.

Thank you Jen and Robyn for making this roadtrip one of the best I ever had. I am looking forward to the next one, and many more after that...

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