We love to sneak away during the month of October. Let’s face it, the weather is pretty much beautiful anywhere in the US during this time of the year, plus the crowds have dwindled down and everything gets touched by the most delicious golden light. Last year we were camping at Zion and Bryce National Parks, it’s always been our thing to get out and explore nature first hand. This year we took full advantage of the kids’ four day weekend and headed to the mountains in hopes of catching a little Fall fever. And boy were we in luck, the trees were just peaking, the air clean and crisp, the temperatures were refreshingly cooler than at home and sunny skies abound the entire time we were there. Mother Nature has a way of painting the most inspiring of masterpieces. Hues of bright gold to burnt orange peppered the landscape and snaked along the mountainsides. It was a feast for the eyes as well as ears. If you listen carefully the leaves of the Aspen trees rustle and rattle off a sweet melody as the wind blows through their branches, and the creeks and waterfalls play a rhythmic and lively tune of their own.
Our trip started off early Saturday morning and it was by far the easiest 5 hour drive because there were barely any cars traveling on the roads. And despite my son’s bouts of motion sickness that he gets from time to time, to his constant needing to snack, the kids overall were excellent little travelers. On our way into Mammoth Lakes we took a detour to visit Randsburg, a small town tucked away in the middle of no where, it use to be an old mining town and the main street looked like something straight out of an old Wild West film, a living ghost town of sorts. We stopped in for lunch at a true old fashion soda fountain that has been in operation since 1904. It also doubles as a general store selling various provisions. We had a nice homey lunch of biscuits and gravy and sourdough french toast, drank their house made lime soda and we all shared a root beer float. After our pit stop, we made it to the Westin Monache at around 3pm and relaxed in our room before picking up groceries and making dinner in our room’s kitchenette.
The next day we wanted to chase down some Fall colors, after looking at the local Fall Foliage report, we headed to Convict Lake. Once there we were taken aback by the jaw dropping colors. The Aspen trees acted like a picture frame, framing it’s own beautiful reflection off the water. We didn’t stay there too long, because we wanted to peep another lake and to find a place to have a picnic. We found Rock Creek Lake, another very picturesque stop. We managed to score a spot right at the waters edge that wasn’t taken by fishers, but it also happened to be rocky without any flat surfaces. We made it work though, laid out a blanket and prepared a cheese board loaded with salami and prosciutto, Brie and Comte cheeses, as well as dried apricots, fresh grapes, and rosemary crackers. It was the best picnic I’ve ever had. Before we called it a day we later ventured to a nearby town that was ablaze with more vibrant Fall colors, we let the kids run around while soaking up the season and banking the sweet memories.
On the third day, our last full day before we headed back home, we decided to wake up a little earlier than usual to hike up Lundy Canyon. We wanted to get high up in the mountains to get a different vantage point of the forest. It was majestic as ever and very much worth the early wake up call. To top things off we made it to a misty waterfall, where we had snacks and played a game of who could throw ice crystals into the falls the furthest. The crystals must have formed overnight on the grasses and plants because of the freezing temperatures typical of the mountains. We then went to Mono Lake, an ancient lake formed over 700,000 years ago. It was an easy stroll along parts of the Lake where we spied tufa towers (calcium carbonate spires) and ducks gliding around in the large pristine body of water. The last stop for the day was Silver Lake, one of our favorite lakes because we believe it to be the most beautiful and chill of all the Lakes around Mammoth, it was the perfect place to grab ice cream, watch the sunset reflect off the water and end another magical day.