Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mammoth Lakes Basin Grand Tour

I got the ok from my boss to take the day off yesterday to go skiing with my friends Anne, Jed and Alex.

Jed hatched a plan for a full day tour of the Mammoth Lakes Basin, starting at the normal winter road end near Twin Lakes, then skiing Hammil Bowl, TJ Bowl, and Crystal Bowl.

Here we are checking beacons and displaying colorful skis.
After a couple of hours we emerged from the forest into the Hammil Bowl area, with howling winds over the crest, but only occasional gusts lower.

All smiles at the top of our first run of the day.
We dug a test pit to ascertain what the snow pack was like and found a few inches of very weak facets at the bottom of the snow pack, so we stuck to low angle slopes for the most part.

Alex enjoyed the nice, soft snow here - as we all did!Looking up after the first few hundred feet.
We continued down to Hammil Lake then skinned up to the TJ bowl area.

We skipped the "main attraction" and skied the trees just east, which held great snow.

Jed liked it quite a lot.
Jed got this nice pic of me skiing just above TJ Lake.
We then climbed up to the saddle south of Crysal Crag.
Skied down to Crysal Lake and out the waterfall to George Lake.

Here's Jed shooting out of the waterfall onto the apron, where we found our only less-than-ideal snow.
Of course he made it look easy.

So much scenery, so much fun, and so much snow - at least compared to what we had a week ago!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Cone Shoulder


After a great, stormy day riding lifts on Saturday, Anne and I ventured into the snowy backcountry in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.
We headed up to the eastern flank of Red Cone following a well crafted skin track put in by a pair of friendly locals.

Fine skiing was had with about six inches of light snow over a denser base.
We took three runs in the open glades enjoying the changing views from the top as the next storm gathered force to the west.
The backside of Mammoth just to the north.
More great glade skiing.
Topped off by shooting out of the enchanting forest.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mountain Biking

We still have no snow.

Feeling the need for a little adventure, I've visited a couple of out of the way spots for some great mountain biking lately.

Last weekend I hooked up with my buddy Jim and we rode up into the Bodie Hills from his home in Mono City.

In no time we were climbing in the open Pinon forest with spectacular views of the Mono Basin.
We visited a nice spring where the vivid green distinctly contrasted with the pervasive browns and golds.
A nearby cabin provided an interesting diversion.

We enjoyed a little serene valley cruising.
Then plunged back down to Mono City.
This weekend I ventured into one of the many seldom visited regions in our area - the Northern Inyo Mountains (or is that the Sourthern White Mountains?)

Got to get a pic of my ride in here.
Most of the ride was spent traversing these beautiful valleys.

With occasional jaw dropping views of the Sierra.

Eventually arriving at the southwestern rim of Deep Springs Valley.
I very much enjoyed the raw beauty and remoteness here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pleasant Valley Ride

Now that I am working in Bishop again, I feel the need to re-explore the back roads on the outskirts of town.

Yesterday I headed northwest to Pleasant Valley.
First along the Bishop Canal then along an old abandoned canal.
Pleasant Valley lived up to its name.

Tule tunnel!
I eventually arrived at the confluence of McGee Creek and Horton Creek.
As you can see the weather was also quite pleasant.
Maybe too pleasant.

The riding, on the other hand, was only pleasant in certain stretches, while others were decidedly unpleasant, with sand and cobbles.

But I cannot complain, since those sandy, cobbley, roads brought me to Pleasant Valley!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Enjoying the Lemonade on New Years Day

If your a skier like me, the weather this year has been far too dry, but like the old adage goes "If life gives you lemons make lemonade."

So while the skiing has been lackluster at best, the cycling has been great. We enjoyed temps in the 60s, light wind, and bright sunshine today for a ride out Round Valley way.

The crew today consisted of Monica, Mary, and I.
Round Valley was serene - as it usually is.
On the way up Vanadium Ranch Road we came across this very tame young buck.
The ladies had their climbing legs going and rode all the way up Pine Creek Road to Huarte Creek.
I was feeling the need for a long spin so I tacked on a jaunt up to Plant 4 on Bishop Creek on the way home.
This was the peaceful scene at Plant 4.
This pleasant little canyon cradles Bishop Creek below Plant 4.
The alfalfa fields south of town were almost as smooth as a putting green!
It sure felt great to cruise the road bike and see the sites.
I wish I was skiing cold, fluffy powder, but the lemonade was pretty darn sweet just the same.