Our second stop along Hwy 395 was only 20 minutes down the road from our first spot near June Lake. In that short distance we dropped 900 feet in elevation and hoped that would mean warmer temperatures. Nope, no such luck. While we weren’t subjected to any more snow, we could not get away from the cold. If anything, it got colder. The first two nights of our three night stay the temps dropped down to 15 degrees!!!! Yikes. Despite the cold, it was another pretty spot with great mountain views.
We found this stellar boondocking spot courtesy of our new RVing friends Jennifer and Deas of the blog nealysonwheels. Our paths have almost crossed a few times in the last few months, and finally last week we ended up in the same place at the same time. We met them for dinner one night in Mammoth Lakes, and after spending a few hours chatting knew that we wanted to spend more time with this fun, dog-loving (they travel with 3), adventurous couple. So when they invited us to join them at their boondocking spot just a few miles south of Mammoth Lakes we jumped at the chance. As it turned out we only got to spend one night together since they are on a tight schedule to get back to their house in Florida in a few weeks. But that one night was enough time to know that we will keep in touch and make an effort to see them during their next round of travels.
Even though we only stayed three days, we did get out to explore the area a bit. A few miles down the road from our spot was the Hot Creek Geologic Site. It’s a pretty fascinating area that kind of reminded me of a mini, mini, mini version of Yellowstone. The premise is the same. Hot magma underground causes boiling water to bubble up into the creek bed and form scaling hot pools of water. There are also occasional geyser eruptions and we saw several areas where steam was leaking out of the ground.
Swimming used to allowed in the hot creek, but in recent years there have been several deaths and numerous injuries due to the boiling water, so now the entire area is fenced off and swimming is no longer allowed.
There are some other “hidden” hot springs in the area that the locals frequent. Although how hidden they are is questionable since one is actually marked on google maps, and another I found simply by driving down a short dirt spur off the main road to an obvious parking area. I was really hoping to find some nice hot springs that we could spent a chilly evening soaking in, but after visiting 5 of them I was less then impressed. Either they were small (think bathtub size), had slimy bottoms, or were so shallow that the most you could get was a foot soak. They also seemed more lukewarm than hot. Oh well, no hot springs for us I guess. The one in the photo below was the most scenic and clean looking, but it was only about a foot deep.
On Saturday we continued our quest to find some fall color with a visit to nearby Convict Lake. There is a great 3-mile trail that meanders around the lake offering up some stunning views of the water and Mount Morrison in the background. It was gorgeous day and we saw tons of other people hiking around the lake, and even more fishing from the shore.
Across the street from Convict Lake is a really nice national forest campground. Of course it was closed because of the shut down, but we walked around anyway and checked out some of the sites. We couldn’t help but observe that on a weekend such as this, with the fall color in full swing, this campground should, and would, be full if not for the shut down. Guess we’ll add another campground to the list of places we want to stay next time we’re in the area.
Our last adventure around Mammoth Lakes was a bike ride on the extensive trail system that travels around town. We ended up doing a 7 mile loop to the outskirts of the south end town, up to the edge of the ski area, and then back through town on a very nice, wide paved path. There were a few small sections still under construction that consisted of a single track dirt trail, but for the most part it was a very well constructed trail with lots of handy signs and maps. The thing about biking versus hiking is that it is much harder to take photos, so all I have is this one of Tim about to enter one of the single track sections.
Finally, on our last night in the area we were once again joined by some fellow RVrs. This time it was Nina and Paul of Wheeling It. We’ve met them a handful of times in the past, but haven’t crossed paths since last spring, so it was nice to hang out with them again. We’re going to be traveling a similar path over the next few weeks so we’ll be sure to have more opportunities to visit with them and their fun-loving dog Polly. In addition to great company we were also treated to an amazing sunset.
On Sunday we left the Mammoth Lakes area and headed down the road to Bishop in search of yet another boondocking spot. More on that next time…