Mammoth Lakes is a small city in the Sierras in California . It’s a big ski resort . Beautiful countryside , trees , lakes, mountains . Ada and I went up there recently and met a couple of friends to share a few days camping .
We drove another few miles up to Yosemite for the day ; took a short hike around Lake Tenaya , picnicked . The next day we drove up to the ski lift in Mammoth , rode a gondola up a dry hillside to see the view of the valley . Then we took a shuttle down a curving mountain road to the ranger station at the bottom and hiked the short distance to Devil’s Postpile National Monument , an impressive rock formation .
We couldn’t get a campsite anywhere but in a group camp . All the individual sites around town were full . So we were right in the middle of hoards of pre-teens , church groups , and huge family gatherings .
We drove a few miles up the road to a little store that offered showers in the back , five bucks . I tried to bargain with the girl at the cash register : if I don’t get clean enough can I get a discount ? She said , sure , but if I get too clean then I pay ten bucks . We left it at the original five fee , but , after my shower , she claimed that I was too clean . I guess that five bucks was a bargain .
It’s good to get away for a few days . Go to bed about the time the sun goes down ; get up about sunrise . It re-starts your natural clock —- I read that in the paper, by coincidence , a few days ago . And breathe some fresh air . Well , there’s a fire burning in the mountains somewhere up there and we had a couple of days of a forest full of forest fire smoke , as well as the campfire smoke .
We didn’t see any bears , but they’re up there . Every site had a heavy bear proof metal locker to keep food bear-safe . Big deal , Ada told our friends , we have bears in Arcadia quite often . True , but it was a little false bravado on her part . In the campground the only thing between you and the potential hungry angry lonely bear is a thin piece of stretched tent nylon and a zippered tent flap .
Two guys are deep in the woods camping . One of them takes a pair of new running shoes out of his backpack . The other guy laughs . ” Why did you bring running shoes into the forest ? ” he asks .
” In case there are bears , ” the guy answers .
” You can’t outrun a bear , ” his friend says .