It’s amazing to me that to get to one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world you actually have to drive through a lot of desert. Once you get through the Antelope Valley, the first point of interest is Mojave and the “airplane graveyard.” (This blog has a lot of really great images if you’re so inclined.)
About 30 miles up the road is Red Rock Canyon State Park. It’s beautiful and looks like Arizona to me. The rock formations make you feel like you’re on a different planet. I understand there are Indian petrogylphs in there. Unfortunately, Zach and I are always too excited to get to Mammoth so we’ve only seen the area from a moving car.
Beyond this, there’s a whole lot of nothing. Every once in a while, you pass by the carcasses of old abandoned buildings.
90 miles from Red Rock Canyon is the first of the small High Sierra towns called Lone Pine, “the Gateway to Mt. Whitney.” It was founded in the mid 1800s. Interesting fact I just learned is that it’s very close to Manzanar. You know, the camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were deported during WWII.
Next up is Independence. Who would have thought you would find an authentic French bistro in an old Western town out in the middle of nowhere?
25 miles beyond Indepence is Big Pine.
And finally, the last stop along the road to Mammoth is Bishop. Once you hit Bishop, you are home free.
It’s bigger than the other towns and is actually kind of a fun spot. We sometimes stay here when we are too tired to drive the whole way or want to save a few bucks. There is a movie theatre, a few bars, and a tiny bowling alley. And it is surrounded by stunning snow-covered mountains.
Once you’re out of Bishop, you’ve got about 60 miles left until you’re in Mammoth, one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ve been a million times and I still stand at the top of the mountain, awestruck at the landscape around me. It is truly breathtaking and it never gets old.
And it’s always a great trip if you manage to spot Wooly tearing it up out on the slopes.
Well, that’s a wrap for this season. See you next December. Maybe. If there isn’t a wee little Pollard brewing . . .