After our visit to Manzanar, it was getting a little late and we were ready for dinner. We found this restaurant in Bishop. It was a nice “home-cooking” type restaurant. I had fried chicken and the hubby had meatloaf. Both meals were huge portions and quite tasty!
It was close to 10 pm when we arrived at Mammoth Lakes. We planned to go to Devil’s Postpile National Monument in the morning and wanted to stay as close as possible, so I chose to make reservations at the Mammoth Mountain Inn. They have pretty affordable rates during the non-ski season.
We were given an upstairs room in a wing near the main lodge and were told to take any food or smelly items out of the car and into our room as the bears had been quite active lately.
Going from -200+ feet below sea level to 10,000 feet above sea level in a few hours has its issues! I remember telling my husband that I was out of breath just from brushing my teeth. The other thing that I totally didn’t expect, was that our clothes in the luggage were soaking wet! For the life of me, I couldn’t not figure out why our clothes were wet when the luggage was dry. Then it finally dawned on me, that it was so hot in the desert that our clothes heated up and then cooled so quickly that water condensed on them within the luggage. We had clothes hung up all over trying to dry them out!
Unfortunately, we were only staying in this beautiful place one night. We fell exhaustively into bed.
The next morning we had breakfast in the main lodge. The food and service were wonderful! After breakfast, we needed to find the ticket office to buy passes to ride the shuttle bus to Devil’s Postpile National Monument. During the busy season, no cars are allowed up the road to the monument unless you are going early in the morning or late in the evening. The road is narrow and they try to limit traffic going to the monument. They sell tickets near the sporting areas at the inn. I took a few shots while trying to find the tickets. More than once, my husband said, “We are coming back here and staying for more than one night!”. He did not want to leave!
The day was a bit smoky from the wildfires in Sequoia and Yosemite.
We finally found a little stand that was selling excursions and asked about shuttle bus tickets. Turns out, that yesterday was the last day for the shuttle bus, so we were free to drive up to the monument! With that, we said goodbye to Mammoth Mountain Inn and hello to Inyo National Forest.
Devils Postpile National Monument is located within Inyo National Forest. When driving, there is an entrance fee. I think it was $10. The shuttle is a bit more expensive. The drive was a little scary as there aren’t many guardrails and the road is narrow. Downhill drivers are supposed to give uphill drivers the right-of-way and there are some turnouts for photos and to allow faster drivers to pass. I am a chicken when it comes to mountain roads so hubby did the driving.
It was a short walk to the postpile from the parking area. On the way, we passed this beautiful meadow with the San Joaquin River running through it
Devil’s Postpile is located a short easy walk (about 0.4 miles) from the parking area.
This awesome geologic structure was once a lake of basaltic lava. As the lava cooled it formed these jointed columns. What was left was a mountain of cooled basaltic columns. These columns were hidden until glaciers eroded the face of the mountain and left the impressive columns exposed. If you visit Devil’s Postpile, make sure you climb to the top! It is a short 15 minute uphill hike and well worth the effort. Nature is amazing! The top looks like honeycomb of stone. It looks like someone laid paving stones here.
If we are ever able to visit again, I would like to take the longer hike to Rainbow Falls but it was longer than we were prepared to take today. We wanted to make it to Yosemite in time to see a few things before nightfall.
A couple parting shots as we hiked back to the parking area…
After leaving, we stopped back in Mammoth Lakes for lunch. I am sure the locals had fun watching this Easterner trying to open a bear-proof trashcan. I was a pro by the time we left Yosemite!
Stay tuned for our few days in Yosemite!