I had hoped that I could spend a lot of time down in the Mammoth area for 9 days, but that was not to be because I had to use up a few days helping out the parents with their upcoming move. On the way to Virginia City, we drove through a little town called Paradise Valley & then up one mountain, camped overnight, then down another mountain the next day. We hit smoke in Bendover (Wendover-border of Utah and NV) & had it the entire trip.
As we were nearing the town of Paradise Valley, we could see the mountain range on the side of town burning away:
Umm, no shit:
The town keeps getting smaller and smaller. Quite a few abandoned buildings.
Camping up on top of a mountain 9 miles from the fire.
Drove up to the top of another mountain on the way out the next morning. It's only 8700', but the old mining roads follow some pretty sheer dropoffs along the way.
I have driven past this particular place hundreds of times my entire life, but this is the first time I decided to stop and see wtf it is. Take the Imlay exit off of I-80 between Winnemucca and Lovelock (NV). Place is called Thunder Mountain. Some call it art, but I just call it a bunch of crap cemented together.
If you think I was too harsh calling this crap, have a look at this photo. Yes, a toilet is part of the wall.
Once at the house, I found out I had to make a run into Virginia City to drop off a number of historical donations to the old school, which is a great museum worth visiting:
The rest of the town is purely for tourists.
Most of the buildings are pretty scary looking, like the odds of them collapsing at any moment seems pretty high.
Yes, the door & doorway of this house are both crooked. It's a 3 story house and the whole thing is leaning to one side.
We finally headed off to Mammoth. We hit the June Lakes Loop and parked at Silver Lake for some kayaking. No more than 10 minutes after we arrived, it started pouring down on us.
It would not stop raining, so we slowly threw the kayaks on top of the Pathfinder & I would get out between lightning bursts to strap them down. We headed off to Devil's Postpile to camp, which is west & down the mountain from Mammoth. Of course it wasn't raining at all when we hit Mammoth.
Devil's Postpile National Monument from the top:
And the bottom:
Drove back to Silver Lake & the weather was perfect.
Stopped at a few places along Mono Lake.
One of the 4,000 reasons why I would never live in California:
Our next to last day before returning to Salt Lake, we picked up one of my aunts and drove out to Independence Lake for the day. The Nature Conservancy owns the lake & provides a number of different boats for people to freely use. The lake itself is as big as Donner, but it doesn't have the crowds like Tahoe. We saw 2 other people the entire day we were there.