Thursday, September 5, 2019

Nearby forest fires limit our views but not our experiences in Mammoth Lakes

We arrived in Mammoth Lakes at the beginning of California's summer forest fire season, with blazes to the south and west. The nearest, the then 3,000-acre Lions fire, was seven miles to the south. The good news: we would be in no danger in Mammoth. The bad news, the smoke-filled air would continue, getting worse as the wind blew in more smoke from the uncontrolled blazes.

Not fun for us flat-land Floridians, struggling to acclimate to the town's 7,881-foot elevation. The beauty surrounding us in this ski town was both attraction and impetus to keep going.

Just one of the many alpine lakes.
 Mammoth Lakes area of the Eastern Sierras has seen miners, loggers and now is a year-round destination for skiers and boarders, mountain bikers, boaters, hikers, horseback riders and campers, anglers and anyone with an appreciation of Nature's beauty. Like many ski towns it is hard to identify a center as tendrils of hotels, inns, hostels, restaurants, shops, services and private homes wind from main roads through often steep and narrow terrain.

Our hotel, The Westin Resort, was on a short twig of a driveway. As one would expect at a ski resort, rooms came with fireplaces and pegs for heavy winter jackets.

A 40-minute helicopter ride gave an insight into the geology, village, landscape and lakes of the Mammoth Lakes area plus the Lion fire.

Pilot Brendan apologized that he could not fly south over the ridge - airspace was closed because of the fire - and for the limited visibility.

The ridge, to but not over.

Smoke infused haze blurred views.

There was plenty to see to the west, north and east.

  Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth Mountain

Town of Mammoth Lakes nestled in the foothills of Mammoth Mountain.

Crystal crag

Obsidian dome

 Mono craters

Mono Lake with its tufa, solidified salt pillars like a forest of Lot's wives.

Back on the ground we saw the Sikorsky helicopters being readied for another round of fire fighting.

Next up: Mammoth Lakes from the ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment