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Mammoth Crest, September 14, 2010 - Frank Paysen, Stella Hackell and Bill Bushnell drove two cars up to Lake George trailhead, left one car there, then all rode in the second car to the Duck Pass trailhead. We hiked up the Duck Pass Trail to Duck Pass. Shortly after the pass we headed uphill and cross-country along the Mammoth Crest, stopping at an overlook of Barney Lake before climbing over Deer Pass (11200ft) and down to a large plateau. At the western end of this plateau we continued through a notch and down some steep talus to Deer Lakes. Fortunately, there was a decent use trail.
At Deer Lakes we stopped to eat lunch and to pump water (through a filter) from one of the Deer Lakes into our bladders. I had refilled my water bottles at this very spot 13 years earlier, the last time I did this hike.
We climbed back up to the crest on an established trail, heading northwest. We stopped and climbed two gendarmes covered with pika poop before heading downhill for good. On the way we crossed a broad, flat expanse of rock and sand near Crystal Crag and climbed one last hill of bright red pumice before heading down off the crest to the Lake George trailhead.
(Distance: 11.3 miles; Climbing: 3300 feet)
|Power Gold Rush
Mammoth Full Tour, September 15, 2010 - No one wanted to hike today, so I went out on the bike and did what I call the "full" tour of the Mammoth Lakes area, a tour that gives me 45 miles of interesting roads without touching US-395.
The route goes from town up past the ski resort, over Minaret Summit and down to Reds Meadow, then back again into town as far as Old Mammoth Rd. Then one takes Old Mammoth Rd. up to Lake Mary Rd. and then out to Horseshoe Lake, Lake George, Lake Mary, out to the Duck Pass Trailhead, then back along the east shore of Lake Mary, and down Lake Mary Rd. into town again. Since I rode at the end of the day, the low angle of the sun enhanced the scenery.
Mount Starr, September 16, 2010 - Frank Paysen, Stella Hackell, David and Bill Bushnell set out from Mosquito Flat trailhead to climb Mono Pass and Mt. Starr. We all started off well, but David decided to turn back at about 11700 ft due to fatigue and difficulty breathing at the altitude. He ended up hiking down the trail a short distance and then stopping to nap for about three hours beneath a tree near the junction with the trail to Ruby Lake while Frank, Stella, and I continued our adventure.
We regrouped at the pass and then climbed the shoulder of Mt. Starr to have lunch (as we had done in 2008). This particular spot enjoys an expansive view of Little Lakes Valley, possibly more dramatic than that seen from the summit of Mt. Starr. (See marking on detail map.)
After lunch the three of us pressed northward along the ridge of Mt. Starr, rounding a bend only to notice that the summit rocks further to the north were higher. When we finally managed to climb up to what we thought was the summit area (Frank via a chimney, and I via a hidden route), we discovered that the true summit was yet again further north!
We didn't have time to explore further as it was getting late, so we made our way down the west side of the ridge back to the Mono Pass Trail and hiked down to Mosquito Flat, rejoining David along the way.
(Distance: 7.8 miles; Climbing: 2600 feet)
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