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Old 08-06-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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Mammoth-LAUREL LAKES (Trip Report)

Name of trip: Mammoth and Laurel Lakes Trip
By: Steve (CellularSteve)

Departure Date: 7/31/08
Return Date: 8/3/08

Who went:
Steve and wife Kristin

Vehicle: 2005 Sportsmobile 4x4 V10
Miles driven: about 700
Miles per gallon: don’t ask
Fuel Cost: too much $4.19-$4.65/gal

Hikes: short one around Laurel Lakes
Fishing: 2 days at Convict Lake and an hour at Laurel Lakes
Other Events: Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza
Offroad Trails Taken: Laurel Lakes
Camping: Laurel Lakes and Convict Lake

Daytime Temperature: 74o-99o
Animals seen: Black Bear at/in Convict Lake
Best meal: BBQ Ribeye, Pulled Pork Nachos at Festival

Problems: Not enough time
Details:

This is the start of the Laurel Lakes Trail. The weather was beautiful, sky was blue and we headed up at 6:30PM. The trailhead is just a few miles from Mammoth proper and the distance to the lakes was just 4 ˝ miles, but with stops took about an hour.


Airing down the tires to 30lbs proved helpful on the loose rock toward the end of the trail.


The trail was easy at the beginning.


The views were stunning.


Taking the advice of others, I took all the switchbacks wide and encountered no problems, and no need to reverse. For the famed last switchback that descends on the upper Laurel Lake, I got out to survey the scene.


I am proud to report that I was able to do the final switchback with only a three point turn. The key was to take it very wide even though it was a bit off-camber.






The van handled flawlessly. However, this part of the trail is not for the faint of heart. What the photo doesn’t show is the 2-300’ or so drop-off down to the lake. The lake is so beautiful and when you come this far, you just have to do it. Since I have offroaded quite a bit in my Jeep I was fine with this. However, there was loose rock and some dirt that caused slipping toward the downhill slope, even with the brake firmly pressed to the floor. I made a quick right turn after the reverse and headed down to the lake.


No one was there so we had the entire lake to ourselves. We setup camp right at the shore, put up the top and made some great margaritas.


The next morning a few fisherman and hikers showed up as well as a group of guys on dirtbikes. But still there were less than 15 people. We awoke to beautiful weather and enjoyed the lake with a short hike and an hour of fishing.


This is not me but a lone fisherman in a float tube.


Here is the 2-300’ drop off. You can barely see a Toyota FJ coming down the hillside.


By early afternoon we broke camp and headed out. There were a few small boulders where we camped that I had to move but then we were on our way.


The ascent to that famed switchback. I cut it too wide so I had to back up a few feet and try again. I was able to do a 3 point turn again. I was told by a few who have done this that for some it takes a 10 or 20 point turn. I celebrated our accomplishment to two ATV riders and 1 dirtbike rider giving me the thumbs up and proclaiming, “way to go man.” They likely never saw a Sportsmobile, and coming up Laurel Lakes no less.


Here are the views as you descend back down to Mammoth




What a wonderful trip. I highly recommend it. This rivaled some of the sights on my big road trip last summer, such as Lake Louise and Morraine Lake in Canada. What was better about Laurel Lakes was the seclusion, the challenge to get there, and the incredible beauty right here in California and only a few miles from Mammoth.

We then headed to Convict Lake for two days of fishing with campground camping and attending the Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza. What a way to cap off the weekend. We will definitely be going back soon.

Cheers!




steve
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:14 AM   #2
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Thanks for the great trip report Steve. We have actually been talking about this trip (Laurel Lakes) for a while now, hopefully next year we'll make it. Bluesapalooza is also high on our list, how did you like it?

Geoff
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:48 AM   #3
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Steve

Great trip report, we were also up there for the festival. We were there with a large group we go with every year for the past seven years. We camp at shady rest so we can ride the shuttle to the festival. We rode the mountain on friday. I wish I would have known you two were going we could have sampled a few together.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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Steve, thanks for the writeup and pictures.

I'm jealous - my wife refuses to go anywhere where 4wd might be needed.

Mike
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:36 PM   #5
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Those pics are breath taking. Thanks for sharing Steve!
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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Killer Steve! If I knew there was a beer fest going on I WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE. Looks like you stopped at the same spot to take the overlook picture. I think it took me about 5 points to make the sharp turn but I have an EB. Of course my spotter kept yelling I could go further...ya Have you tried leavit lake yet? Not a big challenge just fantastic views and great fishing but plan to see people in 4x4's.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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Glad you guys liked the trip report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwindansea
Thanks for the great trip report Steve. We have actually been talking about this trip (Laurel Lakes) for a while now, hopefully next year we'll make it. Bluesapalooza is also high on our list, how did you like it?

Geoff
Geoff, the festival was great. Very good music and too much beer. I like stouts and porters and other full bodied beers. Only trouble is you can't drink that much. They give you a 4oz glass and all the brewers just fill it up. I tried a lot. I recommend the festival. Just know that it is hot and crowded. We stayed about 4 hours but it is an all day event.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calclimber
Steve

Great trip report, we were also up there for the festival. We were there with a large group we go with every year for the past seven years. We camp at shady rest so we can ride the shuttle to the festival. We rode the mountain on friday. I wish I would have known you two were going we could have sampled a few together.
Didn't you see me there Craig? I was the guy with the nice white van and the beer! I wish I knew you were there too. Now we know for next year. Maybe a bunch of us can meet up there.

steve
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Steve, thanks for the writeup and pictures.

I'm jealous - my wife refuses to go anywhere where 4wd might be needed.

Mike
Just tell her you promise not to put it in 4WD. That would be fun on the Laurel Lakes trail. Maybe we need to plan a guys trip?

steve
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureduo
Those pics are breath taking. Thanks for sharing Steve!
Thanks for the compliment Dave. No one ever called me breath taking, not even Kristin. I am sure you are referring to this pic:




steve
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