California Day Ten: Horseshoe Lake and Twin Falls 8/15/18 by Bill Pike


This was our third trip to Mammoth Lakes, but the first time I had brought my running shoes along with me.

I had resolved on Tuesday evening that I would go for a run on Wednesday morning. It seemed reasonable to follow the same path out to Sherwin’s Vista. 

The sun had been up for several minutes as I finally made my way out of the condo. Very pleasant, cool morning air awaited me. This was a sharp contrast to the warm, humid air I normally find on August mornings when I go for a run in Richmond.

For several months, somewhere in the area of my left hamstring, a muscle had not been happy with me. There was a fairly consistent tweak of pain. This nuisance prevented me from enjoying an early morning run. Not sure why, but gradually over the last couple of weeks the muscle had started to feel a tad better.

I can tell you I broke no speed limits on this run. Any creature could have run circles around me, but that’s ok. Often, runs for me are about taking in the scenery, and at Mammoth Lakes I wasn’t disappointed. 

The morning light slowly cast a broad brush stroke on its waking canvas. I made my way out to the end point, looped back around, and started taking in the sights again.

Not many people were stirring yet, the solitude was good for my always wandering mind. As my old body returned me to my stopping point, I decided to hustle into the condo and grab my camera. Abby had alerted me how the sunlight playfully panned across treetops and the creek bed with the Sierras as a backdrop. 

She was right, as I took several photos of the morning light into the backdrop Abby had described.

Back in the condo, their was a quietness, but gradually Betsy and Abby greeted the morning, and chatter started about plans for the day.

First goal was to revisit Horseshoe Lake, and we did. There was still some dampness along the trail from Tuesday’s midmorning rain storm. The rain in this section had momentarily interrupted the parched, dusty landscape. 

IMG_1660.jpgAll along the trail we found picture taking moments. In one clearing was a singular standing stone fire place. It appeared like a small fortress with no indication that time nor intense Sierra weather conditions could intrude upon its mortar and stone construction.

A bit further along, Betsy’s keen eyes caught in the cover of the tree shade a perfectly tanned deer who was intently studying our every move.

IMG_1662.jpgBut, it was the depleted shoreline of the lake that caught our attention as well. This lack of water revealed the normally hidden slope of the land now bleached into hues of tan, gray, and chalk.

IMG_1673.jpgFrom Horseshoe Lake, we made our way to the Twin Falls overlook, and eventually drove over to Twin Lakes. We did quite a bit of exploring around the picturesque Twin Lakes before deciding to have lunch at the Tamarack Lodge.

IMG_1680.jpgAfter lunch, we drove back the condo for some quiet time.

Eventually, we made our way to The Troutfitter where I purchased my out of state residence fishing license. Next, we headed to Vons a California based chain of grocery stores. Currently, the only grocery store in town, this place was hopping even on a Wednesday afternoon.

Outside the entrance at Vons was a wooden framed easel that displayed the latest wildfire updates from all of the agencies working to control and contain these fires. 

The updates contained a narrative explaining location and scope of the work, maps pinpointing the fire, and a few photographs. One photograph caught our attention as it showed burros loaded with supplies to be carried into remote locations for the firefighters.

Back at the condo, Art had arrived. He brought with him some grilled tri-tip from Agua Dulce. We caught Art up on our activities, and Art and I made plans for an early Thursday morning trout fishing excursion at Crowley Lake.

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