Our first major destination was to go to Mammoth and visit a family friend of the Ersbak's and stay there a few nights. We drove inland passing Death Valley on the right and Mt. Whitney on the left. We had to stop for a few pictures of Whitney. Then to Bishop, climbing land! We made a stop at the beef jerky place called Mahogany Smoked Meats. If you are ever passing through Bishop you have to stop here for some fresh jerky, I highly recommend the teriyaki and the sweet and spicy style. After 6 or more hours of driving we finally made it to Mammoth and the Day's residence. Claus and Christine made it up to Mammoth the day before and were hanging out in Mammoth for the weekend. When we got there the Day's welcomed us with refreshments and their giant back of some tall granite peaks. We chit chatted for a few hours and soon it was dinner time. As the sun was setting I couldn't resist but taking a few pics. Just across the valley was the White mountains. Looking South we could see the canyon where a lot of rock climbers would go for world class bouldering. After some dinner we talked about plants and animals of Hawaii. Donalda Day was really interested in the flora and fauna of Hawaii. I showed her a few of my pics and made recommendations when they go up to Maui.
It was getting late but Christian was out photographing the night sky. I went out to join him, luckily I was still awake since all the stars were out and the Milky Way was showing just above those granite peaks. We stayed out till about midnight trying to get awesome pictures. I could have stayed out there all night but we had a hike the Day's were going to take us on the next day. Some of the Milky Way shots turned out epic!
We got up around 7 the next morning to get ready for the hike. The Day's were going to take us on our first Yosemite hike to an alpine lake. They said it was "easy" 4-5 mile round trip. We got to the trail head just inside the Tioga entrance to the park. The scenery on Tioga road was beautiful. We passed tall granite mountains, waterfalls, and big lakes. The beginning of the hike was all up hill. We started just below 10,000 feet and probably topped out over 10,000 feet. The hike uphill was brutal and everyone in our group was feeling it. Gaining elevation at so high was difficult for me because I'm used to low elevation. When we reached the peak we could see the lakes we were going to. Gaylor lakes was a deep blue surrounded by rolling hills of granite and lots of pine trees. We made our way down to the lake where we'd take our first good break. Mike Day told us that this was one of the warmer alpine lakes and during the summer season tons of people would be swimming in it. Today no one was dumb enough to swim in it except for me. I stripped down to my undies and slowly waded my way in until I was too deep to wade anymore. Total time for staying in the water was probably under a minute it was so cold. Luckily it was a nice sunny day where I could dry off quickly. After drying off the group made their way to Upper Gaylor lakes. We had our lunch there and headed back to the car. We made a few stops on the way back to the house. Christian had to pick up a fishing license to fish while we were in Yosemite and Claus had to pick up his winter pass to ski in Mammoth during the winter season. We made it back to the house just in time for some dinner. Again the stars were out and we shot late into the evening.
The next morning Christian had to send out pictures to his clients so he had some work to do in the morning. I was pooped from the day before and stayed with him at the house to cruise around and wait for some opportune pics of some hummingbirds. The Day's took Katie and Jenny out to do a short hike up the road before lunch. After lunch we planned on going to the Bristlecone Pine Forest. The Bristlecone Pines are the oldest known living organism on the planet. Some pines are over 5,000 years old! We made a stop at the museum and talked to a person from the Forest Reserve staff. Lauren told us about her passion working for a National Botanic Park Preserve. She also shared a few facts and a story about Methuselah the oldest known living tree in this park. The where abouts of Methuselah are kept secret since the felling of Prometheus. Prometheus was the oldest known living individual but a graduate student with the help of park service cut it down in lieu of research of the ice age. Walking amongst these ancient trees gave me chicken skin... all I could think about was what would these trees say if they could talk? After a late afternoon stroll through these trees we went to a Mexican restaurant to eat. It was our last night in Mammoth, I'm definitely going to come back, this place is pretty cool. The next morning we said our goodbyes and thank you's to the Day's and we headed off to Yosemite National Park.
Thank you again Donalda and Mike for taking us in. I really enjoyed staying at your place and all of your hospitality. If you ever come to Hawaii soon let us know! We'd like to show you folks around!
The start of the madness. Small kind over packed.
Christian being a gangstah.
This wasn't a airport. It was where airplanes go and die.
Never ending road.
Mt. Whitney is to the right by the jagged peaks. From this point of view the mountain in the center looks the tallest but it's not.
Near Bishop, you need to stop here for jerky.
Snacks for the road trip.
Late afternoon at the Day's residence.
The colors of the sun as it sets on White mountains.
Stars came out to dance.
Milky Way was spectacular and clear since there was no light pollution.
Donalda leading the way to Gaylor lakes.
Katie stopping to enjoy the scenery.
Catching our breath.
Christian and Jenny were happy to see Gaylor Lake.
The water was inviting but cold.
Upper Gaylor Lake.
Heading back out. Gaylor lake down there.
Father and two daughters.
Posted up in the morning at some bird feeders hoping to catch a hummingbird.
Trying to freeze action.
Lauren talking story in the visitor center.
First capture of a Bristlecone Pine. Such character...
The tree had a golden glow to it.
These are the pine cones oozing with sap.
#straightroadtrippin from Ryan Chang on Vimeo.