I did a lot of ski runs this past week while in Mammoth for spring break, but my most favorite “run” was a 10-mile loop of running from the ski resort up around Lake Mary and back down to town. I started at Juniper Springs Resort next to Eagle Lodge:
The elevation at Juniper Springs is above 8,000 feet so I took it easy with a warmup walk up to Lake Mary Road to hook up with the Lakes Basin Path, a 5.3-mile bike and running path with over 1,000 feet in elevation gain/loss:
I took breaks to stop and read every interpretive nature sign along the way. I learned that this area stands at the western edge of the largest contiguous Jeffrey Pine forest in the world, and that the resin of the Jeffrey Pine smells like vanilla and butterscotch! I stood at the edge of a volcano and admired the view:
I’d planned my 10-mile route carefully using MapMyRun and Google Maps, but I hadn’t planned for this:
In the winter the city plows Lake Mary Road up to the edge of Twin Lakes. The snow on the rest of the road is then groomed for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and walking. Undaunted, I jogged through the snow on the designated walking section of the path to the left of the groomed ski trails:
I like to think I was only one of a handful of people who made it out to see frozen Lake Mary that day:
After the loop around Lake Mary on the aptly-named “Around Lake Mary Road,” I ran down the mountain on Old Mammoth Road, a snowmobile and hiking path to the historical site of old Mammoth City. At the base of Red Mountain, formerly known as Mineral Hill, sat an 1878-79 mining camp.
A sign explained that for the 1,000 miners in the area there were no less than 22 saloons, with each “saloon” being not much more than a 10-foot square shack with a barrel of whiskey inside!
With all the historical and nature interpretive signs and the gorgeous views, I simply felt joyful for the entire run. Right up until the point that I realized I’d lost my driver’s license when it fell out of my running pack as I removed my cell phone to take a picture somewhere along those 10 miles! Doh! So, on the day we were scheduled to leave Mammoth, I drove back out to the trail and retraced my steps on the snow. Fifteen minutes later I spied my license, sunken in the melted snow at the foot of the historical sign in the mining camp!