Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Camping we will go!

We decided we needed to go to the Sierras again before school started. I researched the best area to go and decided to go and stay at Mammoth Lakes campgrounds. I decided that Coldwater campground made the best choice since creek noise would drown out all the other annoying campers. We left early Thursday morning.

We arrived at Coldwater Creek campground around 12:00 noon. Most of the camping places were taken but a campground host told us where to go and we found an excellent campsite. We set up camp and found that it was very warm in the sun even at 8900 feet. After setting up we decided to go to town and get a few things we had left at home and to check out the visitors center. After the visitors center we went on a short hike to the top of Panarama Dome where we could see all around Mammoth in all directions. The hike was short and everyone enjoyed it. It was very windy at the top though and I am glad it was a warm afternoon when we were there.

We came back to camp and cooked kabobs and noodles for dinner along with grapes. After dinner we got on our bikes and rode around Lake Mary. The bike ride was fun and there were only a couple places where Ashling had to walk because the hills were too steep for her. We ended the night with marshmellows and graham crackers. (I somehow forgot the chocolate at home.)

Our plan Friday was to hike to Crystal Crag Lake. It was 1.75 miles up hill one way. The kids did great! We arrived at the lake by 10:00 am. Cameron wanted to fish and so did the girls. I don't really like to fish or to sit and watch. Cameron suggested I might like hiking the rest of the way to Mammoth Crest (another 1.5 miles each way.). I really wanted to but was a little afraid. All the people on the trail convinced me it would probably be safe to go alone so I left. I enjoyed a quick hike to the top with sections where I ran. The view from the top was beatiful and it made me want to continue up to some of the mountains. Instead I ran back to the lake arriving at the lake in a little under an hour from the time I left.

This is Lake George where the hike starts.
Along the way we found patches of snow like this one that we had to hike through.
Crystal Crag Lake
This is a picture of us at the end of the hike.
The only family picture on the trip.
After our hike we went back to camp to grab a few things. Then we decided to go on the June Lakes scenic loop. It was a beautiful loop and the waterfall was amazing. We stopped at a Lake and Cameron once again wanted to fish. I hate fishing and was trying to decide what I was going to do when I noticed they rented kayaks. I rented a two seater and let the girls take turns paddling around the lake. I wish I knew a little more about how to paddle but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed the experience. Ali and Ashling learned to help a little and I learned that even if it is windy putting a child in the back to steer is not the best idea. When I was in the back I felt much more in control of where the kayak was going. Annika had a small turn but did not really like the boat and so I took her back to shore quickly. After I got tired Cameron had a turn with Ali. He seemed to enjoy it too.

On Saturday morning it was very cold. Annika woke up really early and Cameron took her to the car to watch a movie. I was going to try and sleep but there was a run I wanted to do and so I got up and went on a run. It was so beautiful to run around Lake Mary and I loved the nice cool weather.

Later we decided to ride to town on the paved trail. It was a steep downhill ride. Ali and Cameron with Annika in the trailer loved it and went very fast the whole way. They stopped several times to wait for Ashling and I. Ashling was cautious where there were cars and then she rode down the hill quickly on the paved trail. I found out that just like skiing, I only like so much speed and then it is enough. I was the slowest one down the whole trail and couldn't imagine going any faster than I was riding.

We went shopping around the Mammoth Village and then rode a bus with bike racks back to our campsite. It was really fun and I enjoyed being about to use their free public transportation. Back at camp we ate lunch and then prepared to go to Whitmore pool.

We are a family that loves swimming and so I make it a goal to go swimming at least once on every vacation whether it is in the winter or summer. This time the pool was a little too cold and it was much to windy. Ali, Ashling and Cameron had fun in the big pool and Annika swam around in the little pool with me. It was still fun but not quite the place I had imagined it would be. Next time we will probably not go there. The shower after was nice but it was just a big group shower and there wasn't a very good place to change. I like Keogh hot springs near Bishop much better and will probably just pay for a shower at the Lake Mary Marina if we want one.

After our swim and showers we decided to do a little 4 wheeling up a canyon. The canyon beat us and due to the fact that my explorer is very needed in our family we chose not to go up the very pot hole filled road near the top of the canyon. It was still fun and it allowed Annika to take a much needed nap.

We went out to dinner and then did a little shopping waiting until it was almost dark to go back to camp. It was very cold back at camp and a little windy and so we sent the kids to the tent. By the time we were ready for bed it was dark and still colder so we helped everyone get ready for bed.

Sunday we had a nice big breakfast and slowly began to pack up camp. We dressed in our church clothes and headed to church which we thought started at 10:00. It ends up we were wrong by an hour and that church started at 11:00. It didn't work with our schedule because we had to be out of our campsite by 12:00 pm so we ended up not going after getting all ready. Next time when I drive past the church I will look at what time is actually on the door and not only look at the website.

Our drive home made us realize that we were ready for the kids to start school and that next time we hope to go somewhere without the kids. Really it was a great vacation and we hope to go back to Mammoth Lakes many years in a row!