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2005 Mammoth Lakes Trip

Day 1 of 4

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Friday, October 21st
Drive to Mammoth Lakes via Tuolumne Meadows

After never visiting Mammoth until the previous year, we made it two years in a row. I'd wanted to see fall colors in the eastern Sierras, and a free weekend, no early snow, and none in the forecast facilitated a short trip.

Leaving the Bay Area around 10:30am on a Friday morning, it took about 5 hours, 10 minutes of driving to reach Mammoth via Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite). Weeks later, Tioga Pass Road would be closed until late spring, and Tuolumne Meadows covered in snow. During the summer, Tuolumne Meadows is filled with campers and hikers. When we arrived, it was like a ghost town. The Tuolumne Meadows grill was torn down, the visitor's center closed, the meadow itself all brown, a chilly breeze in the air, and only one other car in the parking lot. We stopped briefly for a bathroom break (even the bathroom was closed), and then continued along the road.

On the way down from Tioga Pass to Highway 395, we saw glimpses of fall colors down in the valley below. We'd return there on the way back to see it up close. Today, though, we simply went straight to Mammoth, where we stayed at the Tamarack Lodge, a collection of rustic cabins right next to Twin Lakes, just a couple miles from downtown Mammoth. While it's literally minutes away from a bustling ski town, it feels like it's far far away. A great spot to stay especially if you're doing hikes in the area. The lodge restaurant, though pricey, is excellent. Treat yourself for one night at the restaurant if you can afford it.

Twin Lakes


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