I flew into Mammoth Lakes on a Thursday evening, and traveled to Yosemite on Saturday. I spent 2 nights in Mammoth Lakes, the full day I spent there, I traveled to Devil's Postpile National Monument, to drop off my resupply.
I took the $7 round-trip (and 45 minute each way) bus to Devil's Postpile all the way to the end of the line, and dropped my resupply off at Red's Meadow Resort.
Then I walked the mile and a half to Devil's Postpile and checked out the amazingness of what nature has to offer.
The hexagonal columns reach over 60 feet high at Devil's Postpile, and the hike from Red's to the Postpile was uneventful (and really, really dry -- a hint of things to come).
Once I got to the basalt columns, I was amazed. Despite having seen them in photos the columns seemed out of place. As if someone had carved them into the rock.
This was my first full day at altitude and the valley was a bit smokey... my lungs were really feeling it as I climbed up to the top of the Postpile.
It was my first experience of having to tell myself I needed to slow down, or else my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Finding the right pace when going uphill was a constant struggle for me on the trip. My legs never seemed to be an issue.... just my fitness level.
After I visited the Postpile, I wandered back to the Ranger Station and then caught the bus back to Mammoth Lakes.
Mammoth Lakes was an interesting town, I'd never seen so many people on mountain bikes and full body armor in my life. They'd rigged all of their ski lifts (on Mammoth Mountain) to carry the bikes up to the top, and people spent all day biking down the mountain on different trails. It was hypnotizing to watch, but trying to navigate the mass of mountain bikers who didn't seem to care about where they were going and constantly assumed they had the right-of-way was pretty annoying. Only one guy ran into my backpack.
I hopped the bicycle shuttle from the mountain down into town, went and got myself a pizza and a beer, and then crashed as soon as it was dark. The next day, I was off to Yosemite.
Read on: http://www.mkehiker.com/blog/the-day-before-the-hike-saturday
Kid A is an avid hiker, backpacker and outdoors enthusiast located in Milwaukee