(Continued from last Thursday)
The hike down the backside of Mammoth Mountain was five miles. It seemed more like seven. Now if you could go the route the crow flies it is probably only a half mile.
But as you can see there were switchbacks. Lots and lots of them! On the top trail in this picture you can barely see a bike. The lower trail is the one we were on. Hikers and mountain bikers are separated the entire hike down, which is nice knowing you are not going to get plowed over by a speeding bike!
We had the hiking trail all to ourselves except for one older gentleman that started off ahead of us.* Kari was having a blast running up and down the trails. She easily doubled the amount of miles that Dave and I hiked.
The scenery was beautiful. Don’t get the wrong idea from these pictures that Dave is always way ahead of me when we hike. I hang back to take pictures. (Ha ha!)
As we got closer to the bottom of the trails we had lots more greenery and trees but I had no energy to get my camera out of my backpack to take pictures. This all downhill trail was more tiring than I anticipated and my toes and knees weren’t very happy with me the last mile or so.
When we finally got back down to our starting point it was close to lunchtime. Mammoth was so crowded by then that instead of finding a place for lunch we opted to drive to nearby Convict Lake and eat the picnic lunch we brought. It was a good decision because we found a spot all to ourselves in the shade by the water and the scenery was beautiful.
* There was one elderly gentleman ahead of us on the hike. We had been hiking about an hour and a half when we met up with him… he was walking back UP the trail. I stopped to talk to him. He said he hikes about half way down then HIKES BACK UP TO THE TOP! If that wasn’t impressive enough, HE WAS 88 YEARS OLD!! He told me he spends three months every summer in Mammoth and his goal is to hike 100 miles during those three months. He said he used to hike down Mammoth Mountain one week and the next week hike THE ENTIRE WAY UP! But now that he’s not as able (cough, cough), he only hikes up the top half (which is the worst half).
I felt like a real weenie after talking to this guy and started hiking a little faster and complaining a little less. He was an inspiration indeed.