Sunday, July 20, 2008

A few weeks ago, Scott and I drove up to Mammoth to visit Chase Miller (you've seen pictures of him in previous posts), who lives and works there during the summers. On our way up, we stopped in Yosemite to be in awe of its awesome-ness.

I am as tall as El Capatain!

Jolly Green Giant is not quite as tall.

Bridal Veil Falls at Yosemite.

As we passed this rock on the hike to the falls, a little Japanese girl stopped and told her friends "Do you see the profile of the old man in the rock? You should always look to see something in the rocks". It was adorable, and needed to be documented. Do you see the profile?

(Hint: Look at the left side)

As we drove through Yosemite, we stopped here and there to picnic and enjoy the scenery. BEAUTIFUL!!!!

"Yosemite & Scott" By God.

I'd like to build my house here. Thanks.

Unfortunately, I slept through Tioga Pass, but it was dark anyway... Finally, we arrived in MAMMOTH!!!! We were pretty tired the time we got there (Saturday night around nine) so we just watched The Office with Chase (another avid fan) and fell asleep on our BUNKBEDS!!!!! So fun. I had to take the bottom because I walk in my sleep and didn't want to fall off the top. The next morning we went to church in what looked like a big lodge (there were ten people there... total). After church, we decided to enjoy God's beautiful Earth a bit... Real nice and reverent like.

Get that Mammoth, Scott!!!

What a GORGEOUS view!


BFF's. Basically.

Chase took us 4-wheeling, but all the pictures I took were so blurry because it was so bouncy-bumpy, so I'll just use this as an example, but it doesn't do it justice. Amazing.

Chase got us set up to climb and Scott helped by watching. I further helped by taking this picture.

Scott is either showing me that Mammoth Lakes are really low this year, or he's showing me where he relieved himself while we climbed. I can't remember which. ;p

Ready to hike back down and get set to climb back up again? Yes, that is Chase's truck way down there.

Chase went first to show me how it's done.

What a pro. He scaled this thing in a matter of minutes.

Chase set me up to go next, though I was pretty nervous and certain that I wouldn't even get both feet off the ground.

After a little coaching from both Scott and Chase, I was up. "Ok, guys... Now what?"

Scott kept me safe on Belay. Each time I thought I might die, he reassured me that he was there. He even let me do a little spiderman swinging to test it out. Fun!

Before too long, I was CLIMBING!!! Wooohooo! So much fun, and a really great workout!

Then Scott got up WITHOUT the special rock climbing shoes and totally showed me up. I'm gonna have to practice really hard to beat him!

Look at him go!

After we were spent on climbing, we packed up and Chase took us on a view tour. We drove all over the area, past the Devil's Postpile (National Monument), the main lookout for the Minarets (those pokey mountains in the background), and then to this beautiful area. It was here that we foolishly stood out on an open cliff with a ham radio (long antenna pointing towards the heavens) talking to chase's family (Scott is in charge of the emergency contact relief something-or-other for his ward, as he is the only licensed owner and operator of a ham radio, so we like to play with it, you know, to keep sharp. Magnify the calling and such...). A Thunderstorm came rolling in.You've never seen me so eager to be indoors. I huddled in the cab of Chase's truck for a while while the guys poked fun at me. Suddenly, lightening struck Scott and he collapsed into a pile of dust! Ok, that didn't really happen, but that's probably what would have happened to him had he continued to make fun of me. ;p

"What's that you say? My bum is fabulous? Why thank you. Here, let me give you a better view." LOL!!!!! (I'm not kidding. There is no other reason for him pulling up his jacket and sticking out his bum. He was, quite literally, giving us a better shot as we climbed this mountain behind him. Chase cracks me up.

After the view tour, we went 4-wheeling for a bit, which led us to this area. We happened upon Glass mountain. Ok, I suppose that's the wrong arrangement of words, as one cannot merely HAPPEN UPON a MASIVE COLLECTION OF LOOSE ROCKS the spans for miles and miles. We did what any intelligent college students would do. We climbed. Loose, rolling, completely unstable rock. This is me about 1/8th of the way up, suddenly appreciating how stupid our current actions are... I panicked!!! The guys were up ahead having a good old time laughing and joking about loose and falling rocks, about not climbing up right behind one another, and about sneezing to cause a rock slide. Awesome. I got mad. A little upset, yes. "Stop it! Don't talk. Don't say anything". Poor Scott didn't quite know what to do. He shut up quickly and watch to see what I would do. I decided to move forward, but with extreme caution. About halfway up, I lost my cool again. My body was trembling as each rock I stepped on wobbled and slid over the many thousands of loose rocks beneath....

Scott waited with me while I regained my cool attitude. I wasn't crying or anything.. just obviously disturbed. Chase was at the top by now. He yelled down asking what we wanted to do. I remember thinking "Don't Yell!!!!! Don't make a peep or we could all die!". It wasn't that bad, but I was freaking out. So a few minutes later, I told Scott I wanted to continue. If for no other reason, I wanted to peek over the ledge and see the valley beyond.

Yeah, minor dissapointment. Apparently, this was the Dinosaurs' dump. The piles of loose rock went on for miles and miles.

But the view was glorious. We sat for a while talking about what might have caused this structure to form. I shared some of what little I understand from my last semester of Geology and what my rock-hound of a father has taught me (and yes, Daddy, I did bring you back a big rock from Glass Mountain and a handful of obsidian chunks - that stuff is laying all over just waiting to be picked up. I always thought it was so pretty).

Coming down was SO much easier than climbing! I wasn't scared at all after the first minute, but I did slip and puncture a little hole in my leg. Ow. I'm that red dot in the middle of the picture.

On Monday, Chase had to work like a grown-up (he just graduated with his BS in Engineering from Fresno State and is headed to a MS Engineering program in Canada this fall, so he has to play big-boy now), so Scott and I had from 8-5 to roam the area ourselves. We got a little lost at first, and stumbled upon our dream neighborhood. For those of you who used to take me house-gazing (remember Del Rio, Kel?) here is a collection of the amazing homes in Mammoth that I wouldn't mind owning one day.

Perfect. And the Schools are just down the street. I'll move in tomorrow, thanks.
The buses are even Trolley-style. How precious. Mine.
And then we found this flyer outside a house for sale... Well, dreams are nice to have. YIKES!!!!!
After our excursion into Lala land, we came back to reality and went to visit Convict Lake.
I thought about trying to take the entire mountain home with me to give to daddy, but I'm pretty sure nobody there would have approved. Also, I'm pretty sure God likes it where it is. If He wanted it moved, He'd move it! Sorry Dad. Maybe next time.

The weather was BREATH-TAKING the entire time we were there (and, apparently, any time you're not buried in ten feet of snow).
Every other hour or so, it would rain lightly while the sun was wtill shining. Unbelievable. It was the kind of weather I would wish for all year, but would only happen once in a blue moon. In Mammoth, it lasted all weekend.
In the back of Chase's climbing guide (book of maps and routes for good climbing in Mammoth), there was a little page that tells you where to go to enjoy the natural springs of Mammoth Lakes. Due to the area's active volcanic history, there are several hot spots remaining (and likely due to act up again). So the area leaders (out of respect for their tourists, I'm sure) took it upon themselves to pump the water from the hotspots to more enjoyable areas. They built several concrete, rocky tubs and pools in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, pumped the hot water to them, and sent out the rudementary maps guiding you to "take a turn on this dirt road about 5.3 miles past this cattleguard, drive for fiveminutes, and take a left turn at the third rattle snake you see. You will probably find one of the hot springs. Maybe". Apparently, these hotsprings (though semi-unnatural, as they were formed from cement but filled with real hotspring water), are widely understood to be nude... We wore our suits, but drove around looking for a PRIVATE tub so as to avoid any embarrassment. Chase kept laughing and insisting that he "saw a naked butt at that one! We're not going there! Who on earth roams around naked?!!!! That guy wasn't even NEAR the hottub, and he was NAKED!!!!! EW!!! No, different one. No, Nudies! Maybe a different one! Agh, I bet there are nudies here too!!!" He was hysterical. We spent quite some time driving around, getting lost, taking pictures of the AMAZING scenery, sunsets, rainbows, rain, mountains, and laughing at Chase's claims that he saw yet another "nudie butt".

We finally found a spot that Chase approved of, though it was populated by another couple. Chase gave up the battle and simply said "They'd better not be nudie in there". I went up first while the boys changed behind the truck. I told Chase that I deal with bodies all the time and I can handle a naked few and be mature about it. Told them I'd report back if they were "nudie". I greeted our company and stepped in the tub. Very nice. But I couldn't tell under all that dark-ish water if these two were naked or not... Uh oh. We shared a few awkward moments before the girl stood up (I'm sure she felt the question on my mind) and revealed a bikini. Oh thank goodness!!!! Clothes. The other boys joined me shortly after that and we talked with our company about the tubs, other good spots, the view, etc. They left us after a bit and we enjoyed the tub as a trio again, though I was having a tough time with the idea of moss all over my seat (these tubs were nothing but cement and natural hotspring water. no chemicals. Kinda yucky. I have a thing about lake water, river water, mossy-icky-don't-touch-me-water. But as long as I held still, I was able to ignore it and we had a nice time. I beat my fear by sitting on Scott instead of the mossy seats. Ew.
We ended our Monday this way and went home to make dinner and watch movies. So fun. We should have left Monday, but had fallen too deeply in love with this place, and could not bear to part with it so soon. We stayed until Tuesday morning and enjoyed one more night in Mammoth. Someday, I hope to live there. Or just stay there on vacation.
The drive back through the Tioga Pass and Yosemite was lovely, but we couldn't stop, as I had to be at work by 2pm. I was five minutes late to work, but nobody cared. It was worth it anyway. Scott and I are going back to Mammoth in a few weeks as a last excursion before the ugly python snake of a school/work schedule has me in its coils once again and I am free to do NOTHING! EVER! AH!!!! I bought my own climbing shoes and am practicing around town on litttle rock walls until I can go up with ropes again. I think I'm in love.
PROJECT BANDALOOP, HERE I COME!!! (just google it, ok? It's 2am, I'm going to bed.)