Hiking Up a Down Peak: Mammoth Mountain’s Dragon’s Back Trail

Mammoth Mountain is a playground for people who like to go downhill – namely, skiers and mountain bikers. This mountain is about speed: get to the top as fast as possible using a lift or gondola in order to get down as fast as possible. That’s not how I like to do mountains. I’m not a skier or a mountain biker. I prefer going UP the hills over going down (my knees especially). Because of that preference, Mammoth Mountain was always a drive-by peak on my way to other hikes and climbs.

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Alabama Hills Arches: Mobius, Eye of Alabama, Space, and Baseball Bat

Last week we attended a beautiful wedding in the Alabama Hills (yay Paige and Fred!) Before the ceremony we had some down time so we decided to explore some of the Alabama Hills arches. We walked a ~2.5 mile loop from the parking area for the Mobius Arch and visited four unique formations. This is an easy cross-country hike if you have the GPS track, but beware: it is easy to get wonderfully lost exploring the Alabama Hills! I could spend days wandering these rocks!

The loop in my GPS track (linked below) will take you by four interesting arches. This is just a sample of what the hills have to offer. It’s not only arches; unique formations and path ways make these hills endlessly explorable. I encourage you to wander and find your own favorite places.

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Bishop Creek Fall Colors: North Lake and Sabrina

It’s getting a little late to share this report, but last Sunday (September 29) we headed up Bishop Creek to check out the fall colors. We had been given some discouraging reports about South Lake, so we decided to focus on North Lake and Lake Sabrina.

North Lake was looking pretty nice. While I’ve certainly seen it better, it was definitely worth a visit. As for Sabrina, the lake itself was well below average in terms of the colors it is capable of showing. The road between the North Lake turnoff and Sabrina had the best color on this stretch.

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North Peak (12,242′) and Tioga Lake

After my ‘rest’ day on San Joaquin Mountain, I drove up to Tioga Lake campground to meet up with Sooz and Pavla for the weekend. They had secured some campsites at the always-full Tioga Lake campground, and I was excited to see some friends, sleep at elevation, and prepare for another peak that has been on my to-do list for a while: North Peak.

North is next to Mt Conness, one of my favorite peaks in Yosemite’s high country. I climbed Conness back in 2010 and from its summit spied some future targets, including North. One reason I wanted to climb North was because the approach passes the beautiful glacier-melt fed Conness Lakes, and I wanted to get up close to these stunning lakes I saw from the summit.

Last year, Sooz and I dayhiked to the lakes, but didn’t have enough time to go for the summit of North. The hike to Conness Lakes was one of the most beautiful I’ve done, so I’ve been aching to come back and climb North since then. I finally got the chance.

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