July 10, 2008 - Mammoth Lakes California
California Road Trip and Family GTG
Day 5. We checked out of our condo and had a couple of hours to kill before meeting our family. We decided to do the volcanic driving tour. The area is surrounded with geological features like hot springs, calderas, obsidian domes.
We topped off our tank (4.99/ gallon ! ). We knew it was 5.30/gallon in Bridgeport so we filled up in Mammoth where it was a little cheaper. We stopped off at the visitor's center where we picked up the brochure for the drive.
Our first stop was Hot Creek Geological area. The creek from Mammoth flows towards Crowley Lake. Along the way, it mixes with hot springs to become Hot Creek and enters a gorge. You can drive to a lookout over the hot springs where there are turquoise and yellow colored seeps and pools. Previously, you could use the hot springs but they have been closed recently due to scalding hot water.
Next stop was Inyo craters. To reach the crater, you a back road towards Mammoth and turn off on a dirt road. We weren't completely certain which direct road to take since we didn't see a sign coming from the opposite way. We took a chance on one of the roads and came across a wonderful meadow filled with mariposa lilies. We were hoping to see these lovely flowers. We pulled off to the side and walked across the crunchy prickly pine needles and enjoyed the beauty and solitude. And we were on the right road. We came soon to the parking area for the crater and walked a short distance to the rim. Below is in the crater was a brilliant blue lake.
Next up, Obsidian Dome.I was curious about this area especially since there was an interesting sounding wildflower hike. We have never done the hike because it is across white glass pebbles that can be hot on sunny days but I wanted to see the dome. It is a mile long pile of black obsidian glass. It was formed by slow moving lava from an eruption about 500 years ago.
It was getting late so we headed towards Mono Lake but made one more stop to see Panum Crater. It was too hot by this time and the area was very exposed. We walked to the rim and that was enough for me. We headed to a picnic area next to Mono Lake where we found a bit of shade. We shared our cheese sandwiches with one of the local gulls.
We headed into Bridgeport and turn off to Twin Lakes and Annett's Mono Village at the end of the road. We didn't know if our family would be there yet or not. The drive was pretty across a large open pasture before reading the foothills and the mountains closed in around us. We reached the lake and continued along the shore until we reached the Village. We pulled into the office parking lot and arrived just after our family. Great timing.
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