The tragic Rim Fire outside of Yosemite hit close to home last week, when the fire’s smoke traveled up to the Tahoe basin – and decided to stay awhile. We’ve not seen smoke this bad since the Angora Fire, and it affected our morale as much as our ability to breathe and sleep. With no respite forecast for the weekend, we decided to head south to Mammoth Lakes, where we had heard air quality was much better, thanks to the wind direction.
Since we had the dog with us, our first stop was for her. Convict Lake is just south of Mammoth Lakes, and while it’s a popular fishing spot, the 2.5 mile trail that circumvents the lake is the perfect distance for a nearly 13 year old dog. We love the views of Mt. Morrison and Mini-Morrison, and the clear blue skies were only additional incentive.
The real reason for traveling to Mammoth was to mountain bike. It’s been a few years since I had been to Mammoth’s mountain bike park, and while I had upgraded my bike, Mammoth had done a lot of work to the trail system, adding trails and working on existing ones. The net result was a whole lotta fun. Think plenty of banked turns, bridges, more than a few pavers, and a ton of views.
With great meals at Toomey’s and Campo Mammoth, along with food, wine, live music and fascinating people watching at the Mammoth Rocks event Saturday, it really felt like a mini vacation.
For both me and my lungs.
If you go:
Mammoth Mountain Bike Park: Open 7 days a week through September 15, then weekends through September 29.
Convict Lake: In addition to hiking, there’s also fishing, boating and a terrific restaurant. Go here in the autumn to see the technicolor brilliance of the aspens along the lake.
Toomey’s: Matt Toomey, former head chef at the Tioga Toomey’s at the Whoa Nellie Deli, has returned to Mammoth. His new restaurant, located near the Village in the old Ski Surgeon building, boasts many of his classics (think lobster taquitos) and some new favorites, like the ½ pound burger served with caramelized onions and blue cheese.
Campo Mammoth: This Mammoth outpost of the popular Reno rustic Italian restaurant offers wood-fired pizzas, great cocktails (try the Campo Manhattan), and an awesome kale salad.
Old New York Deli & Bakery: The best (read: authentic) bagels you can find in the Sierra. Seriously. Located in the Village, it’s got great breakfasts and happens to be conveniently located on the way to the ski resort.