Snow. We wanted to see the snow.
We headed north on US 395 out of Ridgecrest. Our destination was Mammoth Lakes, home of L.A.’s favorite high Sierra ski weekend getaway.
An hour on the road and we were rolling through Lone Pine. Looking to our left, we tried to get a glimpse of cloud-covered Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.
“We gotta do it.”
A few stop lights and we were beyond the town limits.
Another forty minutes or so and we discovered that the elk crossing signs were indeed necessary caution advisories. Off the road to the right was a herd of Tule elk feeding in the valley between the mountain ridges to the east and west.
The town of Bishop soon passed by in our mirrors and we headed up into the high Sierra.
Mountains covered in deep snow surrounded the winding highway. The air temperature began to drop.
Before long, we were at the turnoff for Mammoth and were rolling through town.
We made way for the cabin of our ND Irish friends. We arrived, unpacked the car, and were back in the car heading to Whiskey Creek, the local microbrew.
We found our friends, ate some garlic fries and had some brews.
Sleep came nicely.
Saturday greeted us with bright sunshine, warm temps and cirrus-cloud, blue skies. Yes, it was perfect for skiing.
Tea and bagels in our stomachs and a quick stop at the ski shop had us prepared fot the Tamarack Trail by the Lakes.
We found the trail quite easily. Many fellow xc skiers were already out.
So, we put our ski shoes on and clumsily clicked them into the long, thin slats that were going to give us access to some breathtaking views.
We started out relatively quick and found a comfortable motion of legs sliding and arms stroking. Then we became too comfortable, as was noted by our novice desire for speed and resulting bail outs which, consequently, provided good amounts of laughter.
After three miles, we arrived at Mary Lake where we took some photos. Two miles or more later, we reached our destination point of Horseshoe Lake.
We scarfed down some energy bars, and then washed the dry, throat-phlegm cleansers down with water. A constant breeze blew off the lake and put a chill in our bones.
We clicked back into the skis and headed back, the highlight being a delightful five to seven minutes of gliding downhill on the trail without any effort.
Skiing done, we looked for the ice-skating rink.
Actually, it was more like we searched for the ice-skating rink. We drove past it three times before we decided to go into the RV park where we then saw arrows pointing to the rink.
We pulled into the parking lot with the best of luck. It was just opening for the afternoon.
Rented ice-hockey skates tied on our feet, we stepped onto the ice. A little teetering and tottering took place before we found our equilibrium.
It was like Torville and Dean on the ice again. We performed all the stunts and maneuvers. Pirouettes. Jumps. Legs in the air. We looked great.
Yep. It was just like Torville and Dean when they first step on the ice as kids (though my Torville was more advanced than this Dean), complete with feet clambering for solid ground and bodies falling to the ice!
(written 18 March 2001)