Flores Family Vacation

Twin Lakes in Mammoth Lakes

August 25 – 27, 2016

This year the Flores Family scheduled a family vacation to Mammoth.  My brother and his family have been going here for years.   My sister, Kim and I decided to tag along this year.  My brother Henry couldn’t make it, so I brought his daughter Brijene with me.  Hopefully next year my sister Diana and brother Henry can join us.

Of course, I did my research and planned some hikes for those who were up for it.   The first day we hiked a short 5 miles to the Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls as I did not want to burn anyone out.  Not much elevation gain.  Everyone made it back and felt the first day was perfect for a warm up.

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Skelton Lake

Day 2, Duck Pass trail with lots of lakes to see. Option one, 5.4 miles round trip to Barney Lake, elevation gain 1,094. Option two, Duck Pass 8 + miles, elevation gain 1,736. I warned everyone the first part of this hike would be steeper than day 1.  Patty and Lynn decided to shoot for “Option one” as they have not been hiking to the level that they would like.  My nieces decided to go up to Duck Pass with me as they are both softball players and are in tip top shape.

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The girls with Barney Lake as a backdrop

We took a quick a break at Barney Lake with Patty and Lynn and then headed up to Duck Pass before the sun was overhead.  It was another 1.3 miles, so we made pretty quick time.  The view of Duck Lake on the back side of Duck Pass was amazing.  The lake was much bigger than I expected.

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Panoramic view of Duck Lake

We had a lunch break and then headed back down to the trailhead with a quick stop at Arrowhead Lake.

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Arrowhead Lake

Maddison turned 18 this week so we celebrated her birthday with the best Cajun Seafood BBQ including lobster, crab legs and shrimp.  So yummy.  I was waiting for the bears to show up for their share.

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Happy Birthday, Maddison. Schat’s birthday cake to finish off the wonderful dinner.

Day 3,  We changed our hiking plans.  Adrian suggested hiking Dragon’s Back Trail off the backside of Mammoth Mountain.  He said it was pretty easy and included beautiful views.  I was a little concerned as it was pretty steep.  It would be a short hike of 4 miles as we would take the Gondola up to the top and hike down from 11,000 ft and end in the Twin Lakes campground with the total feet descended of 2,300.  I had reason to be concerned as the first part of the hike was all exposed with lots of hiking on loose gravel.

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My first clue  that this was going to be grueling

About two thirds of the way down I felt a little better about the trail.  Lots of trees on the trail to catch me should I slip off the trail.

We stopped at the Bottomless Pit for a break and then headed down to the bottom of the trail and back to camp with a stop at the camp store for an ice cream treat compliments of Patty.  Well earned.

Meanwhile back at camp the rest of the crew had been catching fish in the lakes and streams and they  even took a trip to Tioga Pas where they caught a bunch of fish in a creek that they found on a previous trip.

This was an amazing trip.  Can’t wait to do this again next year.

NOTE:  Met lots of backpackers hiking the John Muir Trail and got some great information for some backpacking trips for next year.

Hershey Kiss Hike

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Day two in the Sierras took us to Chocolate Lakes, Ruwau Lake and Long Lake.  We had originally planned to hike to Bishop Pass, however after day one of hiking we thought we would do something a little less strenuous.

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Susie, Raquel and Marilyn

The trailhead was at South Lake.  The elevation was going to be 1,785, we started at 9,768 and hiked up to 11, 154 in 5 1/2 hours.  This was another strenuous hike, but the views were the payoff.  We passed Bull Lake and three Chocolate Lakes. Raquel and Marilyn are regular hiking buddies, we always have a great time out on the trail.  We also share the love of the Lord which makes it extra special.

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Chocolate Peak aka “A Hershey Kiss”

As you can see from the photo above, the Chocolate Lakes were named after the Chocolate Peak shaped as a Hershey Kiss.

Trivia:  What some of you may not know about me is that when I worked for Verizon I had the opportunity to travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania where Hershey Chocolate is made. We actually went to the Corporate offices where chocolate was served in every conference room and the entire building smelled of chocolate and the street lights where shaped as Hershey Kisses. Yummy.

After the third lake we headed up a steep rocky trail which was several hundred feet.  I was glad to be going up the trail instead of down.  We took several breaks to catch our breath as the elevation gain was quite intense.  Once we reached the top we were rewarded with another beautiful lake, Ruwau Lake.  We took a short lunch break before heading down to Long Lake.

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Our group contained hikers ages 30 s0mething to 60 something. All of the hikers are very well seasoned and hike well together as a group.  We had perfect weather all weekend.  The Sierras offer some great hikes but I don’t think there are any easy hikes here.

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Mark and Allen spent part of the day fishing in Long Lake

On our way back to the trailhead we picked up Mark and Allen who spent part of the day fishing.  Allen was able to catch a fish which was marinated and bbq’d by Bill.  It was the best trout I have ever tasted.  I am usually not a fan of trout but Bill changed that with his preparation techniques. Another great day with the most excellent views.

 

Trusting Him and Walking on the Moon

This weekend I went to the Sierras outside of Bishop and stayed in the Big Trees Campground with our meetup group.  We headed out on Thursday at noon and arrived around 4 pm after stopping at Schat’s Bakery, a famous bakery in Bishop.

We setup our tents, BBQ’d dinner and some of the group played Frisbee to unwind from the 4 hour ride to camp.

IMG_0512The next morning a few of us dropped off a couple of cars at the end of the trail and then picked up the others to start our hike near South Lake.  The plan was to hike to the 5 Tyee Lakes and on to Lake Sabrina where we left the cars. It is a about 8 – 10 miles and a 2400 ft. vertical elevation gain. We had a nice variety of hikers.

I was the coordinator for the weekend, so it is on me to make decisions for the group, make sure everyone is safe, etc.  A situation arose that prompted me to worry and get upset.  As I tend to do when I hike alone, I started a conversation with our Lord and as he always does, he presented a solution and the rest of the day went really well.  He never fails us.  I am convinced that part of the reason that hiking has been brought into my life is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I have found so much clarity on the trail.  I feel so blessed.

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The first Tyee Lake

The first few miles to the first lake were all uphill.  We saw many backpackers coming down the hill after spending some time in the wilderness.  We took a break, made some adjustments and continued on to the next 4 lakes before heading up a long set of steep and sandy switchbacks.  Once we reached the top after 6 miles and about 4 hours we were “Walking on the Moon”.

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Mark and Marilyn on Table Mountain at 11,360 ft

There was not much of a landscape other than sand and  rocks.  It reminded us of what it might look like on the moon.  We were over 11,000 ft.  This is the highest elevation I have ever hiked.  The hardest part of the hike was now behind us and now onto the last leg.  We headed up and over the moon and back into the trees and then down a long steep, rocky set of switchbacks.  I’m okay going uphill on the steep trail, not so much on the downhill.  I kept my eyes on the trail and took my time as my fellow hikers just zipped down the hill.  I was lucky enough to be hiking with Mark who stays close by to encourage me and keep me calm on these down hill trails.  I have hiked with Mark a few times on some pretty steep trails.

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We passed Lake George on our way down and then finally reached Lake Sabrina.  The views of Lake Sabrina as we finished up our hike were amazing.  We also had a view of a beautiful waterfall in the background. The hike took us 7 hours.  We then headed back to camp for a delicious Spaghetti Potluck which was a great end to a beautiful day.

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