Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Hoodoos and Flats

Here's a highway walk from Mammoth I've always wanted to do but haven't been able to because of the summer traffic. Barricades are wonderful things. And while I'm wishing for more snow so I can snowshoe and take some skiing lessons, the lack of snow made this an easy hike.

I started by climbing the stairs up the terraces to cut a couple miles off the trip, then walked the section in the previous post until I got to new territory--the hoodoos.

The distant ridge is part of Terrace Mountain, believed to be the source of all these boulders in a long ago earthquake, eruption, landslide, whatever. This blog and Yellowstone could go out with a bang at any time, but if it's the big volcano, you probably won't have time to miss it.

That's frozen Rustic Falls.

There are some turns on this road you don't want to miss.

For perspective, the next photo shows one of our snow coaches making the turn. The driver had stopped and asked if I wanted a ride down the hill, but I was happy to stay on my feet.

The road in that section is covered with dirt and wood chips for extra traction.

It was a lovely walk through the trees and on the mountainside. But the biggest reward waits when you reach Swan Lake Flats by the Bunsen Peak trailhead.

The photos of course don't begin to do justice, but as I stood there I was thinking that if I called this place beautiful in the summer . . . What words could possibly begin to describe this stunning wide open view in winter?

After absorbing as much of that as I could, it was time to head back. I believe it was while I was walking the following curve that I started laughing and said, "It's all so fucking incredible!" Most people probably wouldn't regard that as a spiritual moment, but it's my version.

Before hiking, I had stopped to see the woman and though she won't be here for the next couple weeks, she was friendly and I didn't have to talk her into getting together again when she returns as I expected to have to do, so I was quite happy about that. And I still don't have a roommate. A most excellent day.


Woodswalker said...

Sounds like a VERY good day! Yes, being overcome with so much joy you laugh out loud is certainly a spiritual moment. What a spectacular world you live in. Thanks for showing it to us.

greentangle said...

Yes, it was a fine day! I should probably regard all of them that way considering how lucky I am to live here, but some always stand out. It already feels like being here for the full winter is making me more connected to both the place and its human community.

threecollie said...

Stopped by via Woodswalker's blog. What incredible scenery!

greentangle said...

Glad you enjoyed the view.