October 14, 2016 Mammoth Lake CA

Today we took the long way to Mammoth Lake.  We decided to try two of the Sierra Passes from east to west that are closed for a great deal of the year due to snow.  They were both open and it was probably our only chance.  We were hoping to see some fall colors at altitude also.

The first pass is California Highway 4, also called the Ebbets Pass Scenic Highway.  And while very scenic and fun to drive, long stretches were unstriped asphalt 1.5 lane road, the colors were disappointing.  There has been a lot of wind the last couple of days and a lot of leaves have been stripped.  The west end of the road is in Calavares County where Mark Twain hung out during his California Gold Rush days.

View from Ebbets Pass Scenic Highway.

The second pass is California Highway 108 also known as the Sonora Pass Scenic Highway.  This road wound thru miles of evergreens and was like any mountain road in Oregon until about 15 miles from the end there was a sign stating that the next 10 miles had a 27% grade.  This road has special meaning to Ron as the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Center is located on the east end of the road and highway 108 is actually used as the access road to the training areas at the top of the pass.  In the winter the road is closed with up to 20 feet of snow on it and the Marines have free play in the area.  In the summer they share it with the campers and the local traffic.  Ron spent two winters here training as a mountain leader and climbed around on the local mountains and skied down route 108 with full gear and a M-16.  It was a lot easier with Scout.

Fall colors along Sonora Pass Scenic Highway.

Tonight we are in a forest service campground within the city limits of Mammoth Lakes.

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