|Walking the ski run|
We started the trek at the Mammoth Mountain Lodge, proceeding past the giant skier tram, making our way to the snow covered and groomed summer road up to Minaret Vista. We would have to share this space with skiers for half a mile. Reaching the summit we found a well buried entrance station for Devils Postpile.
|The entrance station to Devils Postpile is well buried|
From this point on it is nothing but spectacular views into the San Joaquin River drainage. The views included the Minarets, Mt. Ritter, Banner Peak, and many other sights. As we traveled the ridge the views just kept improving. Along the way we kicked up a flock of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches that flew across the line and into Madera County, making County Birder Susan very happy. The only unfortunate aspect of this snowshoe is that the area is also open to snowmobiles. We were lucky that there were only a few that roared by during our adventure. The advantage to having snowmobiles out there is they pack down deep fluffy snow making snowshoe traveling much easier. Still, we'd rather break trail than listen to those things...
We stopped short of the steep decent down to Deadman Pass and had lunch. It was a much quicker return trip, mostly down hill, and we had plenty of time to stop and admire the amazing views. The weather treated us well, relatively warm and only occasionally breezy if you got too close to the ridge line. Another amazing day!
|First view of the Minarets and Ritter Range|
|Snowmobile tracks with Mammoth Mountain beyond|
|North to San Joaquin Mountain|
|There were some steep climbs traveling along the ridge|
|South down the San Joaquin River|
|Minarets, Mt. Ritter, and Banner Peak (L-R)|
|Mammoth Mountain with all its crazy Yo-Yo skiers and snowboarders|
|Closer now to San Joaquin Mountain (R) with Donohue Peak beyond|
The Minarets over windswept snow
|A wind swept ridge that holds no snow|
|Far to the east - Inyo Craters and Glass Mountains|