Get Out of Town!
Mammoth - No Snow, Plenty of Fun
September, 2010 - Issue #71
Each summer my dad and I take my two older kids to the Eastern Sierra to go "fishing."

I use that term loosely because we have yet to catch a fish, and with each trip the fishing becomes less important.

Our latest foray was to Mammoth. We did put lines in the water, but we also went horseback riding, hiking, rode a zip line and had lunch at a lakeside restaurant with linen table cloths.

As always, we made a valiant effort at catching fish. We spent a couple of hours on Lake Mary in a rented boat casting and reeling. We tried Power Bait. Went through all manner of lures. Trolled the middle of the lake. Cruised the shoreline. The only thing biting was the moss.

Laurel and Drew managed to land a couple of impressive clumps. But that fun only lasts so long. So when the novelty of reeling in green slime wore off, and my dad and I grew tired of dodging pontoon boats piloted by tourists hell bent on attaining aquatic speed records, we called it a day and headed for the pier.

We came. We saw. We fished. And we moved on to other activities.

From our site at Coldwater Campground, we could hit the trail into the back country. So we wandered up to Arrowhead Lake and felt the effects of the 9,000-foot-plus elevation immediately. It was a slow, wheezy hike, but worthwhile once we sat on the tree-lined shore, drank in the views and caught our breath.

Scenic vistas were definitely the highlight of our horseback riding trip, too. While my dad and Drew went to town in search of ice cream cones, Laurel and I saddled up with Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit for a one-hour ride to the aptly named Panorama Dome. Latigo carried Laurel, while Lanky was given the ironic task of hauling my substantial bulk up the mountain.

The two horses clomped along through the shady pines, across a creek and zig-zagged through the sage brush to the top of Panorama Dome. Laid out before us under the blue sky were the granite peaks that created postcard views no matter where you looked - Mammoth Rock, Crystal Crag, Red Mountain, Mammoth Rim. Behind us, we could also see the town and surrounding valley.

Mammoth is all about adventure, whether it's the 19th-century variety, or something more modern. When snow gives way to sunshine, the Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain hosts the Adventure Center, the jumping-off point for downhill mountain biking, a climbing wall, zip line rides and more. Laurel and Drew aren't quite old enough to turn loose in the bike park. But they were just the right size for the zip line.

Wrapped in harnesses, helmets and every other safety device imaginable, I figured it was OK to clip them in for a ride. My wife may have disagreed, but hey, she wasn't there. This was Dad's trip, and if the ride wasn't limited to kids under 13, I would've been the first one to leap off the platform. They didn't need me to lead by example, however. With dangling feet and beaming smiles, Laurel and Drew whizzed by above me, enjoying every inch of the ride.

Although we were camping on this trip, we certainly didn't feel the need to completely rough it. Thus our visit to Lakefront Restaurant at Tamarack Lodge, which combines the feel of an old-time lodge with linen table cloths and lovely views of Twin Lakes from the patio just off the dining room.

A pleasant breeze rustled the pines overhead while the kids nibbled on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. I worked my way through the tri-tip sandwich dressed with caramelized onions and blue cheese. Dad opted for the imported cheese plate that featured a very nice brie.

Strangely, nobody ordered fish. That's too bad, because it would have been our best opportunity to catch some.
Eric Harnish lives in Newhall and baits his own hooks.

Get Hooked on Mammoth

Coldwater Campground


Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit

Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center

Tamarack Lodge

"Get out of town" to visit an SCV friend!
Sabor Cocina Mexicana - one of Santa Clarita's finest restaurants - has opened another location in Thousand Oaks. Stop by, say "hello" (or "hola!") and savor Sabor. The new location is at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks, 2200 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
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