Lower Rock Creek

Last week I spent some time at Mammoth Lakes for some lift-assisted mountain biking.    The opener for this trip however was not lift-assisted.   Dave and I and checked out Lower Rock Creek located about 15 miles south of Mammoth Lakes right off of HWY 395.


To keep the logistics simple, we did this ride as a loop.    We parked at the bottom of the trail and climbed Lower Rock Creek Road.   It was about 7.8 mile climb that gained somewhere around 2,200 feet of elevation.   Considered that we started off around 5,000 feet of elevation was quite apparent that we were not beach cruising.  Dave and I eventually made our way to the top and then it was time to cash out that elevation.


The trail crosses Lower Rock Creek Road twice dividing the trail into thirds.    The upper section is nice and flowy with lots of buff goodness that weaves through pines and aspens.  It pretty much all downhill as well.


The trail is exceptionally beautiful and follows along Lower Rock Creek the entire time.  It was really cool to have the sound of creek along the entire route.   After the first road crossing you are in the section colloquially referred to as the “Middle” section.  This section also has some nice flow with the flora shifting to more pines than aspens.   If you do not smile at some point in this section just throw your bike in the creek, hike out and give up all outdoor activities forever as you are clearly too calloused to be out in mother nature.


After the second road crossing the trail gets much more technical as canyon narrows on both sides.


Dave working through the rocks.


More fun in the rocks


At several places where we stopped to figure out a line or session a move, we could see trout in the creek.  Awesome!


There was some tastiness waiting in the cooler at the lower trailhead for us.   This will not be my last time on this trail.

Mammoth Lakes – Finishing Up

The last half of the family vacation were hella fun.  On Wednesday, the boys and I went up the mountain for some more trail fun.   We got off at the McCoy station about took “Trail Home” back down the Adventure Center.  From there we took the gondola back up to the McCoy station and took “Brake Through”.  The boys were riding quite well and was quite surprised at how quickly they have been progressing over this week.

 Jake on “Brake Trough”

The boys were itching to try some more difficult stuff so we decided to check out the lower portion of “Flow” and then onto “Shotgun”.   They really dug the more difficult terrain and some of the features like the wall ride.  

Will getting some good height on the Shotgun wall ride

Jake getting a little wall action.  Even with just getting barely on the wall he giggled and thought that was the best thing ever.

Will decided to tackle a log ride further down the trail.  I was a little apprehensive about it but was pretty stoked when after several attempts he nailed it.


We finished off the day at Lake Mary by renting some pedal boat to fart around on the lake and do a little fishing.     There was a lot more of pedalling around than fishing and Casey and Jake proved that pedal boats are not swamp proof.   It was the best boat rental ever as got way more than our money’s worth of laughs out of them.

On Thursday, while the family slept in, I we got in some runs on a few of the double black diamond trails.   They have some pretty gnarly trails up there that lett me humbled and stokes at the same time.   I did a couple of runs down Techno-Rock before hitting up Chain Smoke to Twilight Zone.   I was shotting some video and did not get any photos.    I can see a bigger bike in my future if I wanted to ride terrain like that on a regular basis.   For the final run, I went back up and did Bullet to Follow Me.    I was back at the room by lunch.

In the afternoon, the boys and I went checked out the old Mammoth Consolidated Mine.   The remenants of the buildings and equipment all over the site that are pretty cool to poke around.   

There is even a mine shaft that you can check out.  It is plugged some 30-40 down the tunnel but is really cool as you can still see the rails for the ore carts.  When I say cool, literally applies because as soon as you step into the the tunnel it feels like the tempurture is in the 60 degrees range. 

After finishing up at the mine we spent the rest of the afternoon feeding the fish at Twin Lake one baited hook at a time.    The following morning it would already be time to pack up and head home.  Man does time fly when you are having fun.  This was a great vacation and one I sure we will remember fondly for many years to come.

Mammoth Day Two

What a fun day in Mammoth we had yesterday.   After leisurely getting up and around, the boys and I went off to do some fishing at some of the local lakes.    Fishing is a good way to help teach the value of patience and we should have been doing this more often.  With my kid’s daily life of video games, hockey, skateboarding, bikes and all the other things that keep them buzzing with activity it was good to put things in the slow lane for a change.  We were all reminded that is called fishing and not catching.   


On several occasions we watched trout swim right below the rock were were perched on.   One even came up to the surface and gulped down a bug that just landed on the water. 

I was really stoked when my boys not only got to see a Bald Eagle but also watched it swoop down and pluck a trout right out of the water.  The eagle then landed on an dead tree nearby and proceeded to scarf down the trout.

While all Bald Eagles are big birds this was not a huge eagle like the one I saw in Anacortes, Washington earlier this year.   One thing is for certain I was so stoked that my boys got to have such an awesome nature experience without having to turn to the Discovery channel.

My mid-afternoon we decided to cut the fish some slack and headed back to the condo.   Looking at the clock we realized we had enough time to catch a gondola ride up the mountain.  Jake and Casey had some shopping on thier to-do list so Will and I suited up and headed out for a run down the mountain.  Will has been bucking to do some of the more difficult trails on the mountain.   I was also looking forward to some of the more technical and feature/stunt oriented trails as well but at the same time the Dad in me has been apprehensive about putting Will in over his head.  

After talking with some folks I decided to test Will out on the black diamond upper section of “Skid Marks”  that starts off right off the top of the mountain.    Will did quite well through the rocky bits and switchbacks, but did take a minor “soil sample”.   He did have all of the protective gear on so he did not even get a scratch.   I did find that following my son through the technical and semi-exposed sections made my riding more difficult as my brain kept switching back and forth between mountain-biker and dad mode.      

Once I realized that Will’s bike handling skills have been improving significantly I found that I was able to spend more time riding with him as a fellow mountain biker and and less as a protective father.  After Skid Marks we took the more intermediate trails of Paper Route and Juniper down the mountain and enjoyed some great swooping and flowing singletrack goodness down the mountain.  

The late afternoon light was really nice and colors of the mountains were starting to go off.   We stopped a couple of times just to take in the views.  Will has always enjoyed the thrill of riding but I think something may have clicked this afternoon about intrinsic value of experiencing the scenery and of the overall outdoor experience beyond simply the enjoyment of riding the bike.