Hiking McGee Creek near Mammoth, CA

On the same trip that I hiked Parker Lake in the Eastern Sierra I also finally got to hike McGee Creek.  Sunset Magazine had a write up about McGee Creek Pack Station (horses) a few years ago and T has gone fishing there a few times.  We even camped right below this area last year on our way to Cherry Lake but I had never made it up to McGee Creek.  Until this year right after Memorial Day.

Even though it has probably melted by now, there's was a lot of snow on the ground still when I was in Mammoth after Memorial Day.  The McGee Creek hike was no different and the ranger at the visitor’s center had warned us that eventually snow would block our path.  She was correct, but it was a nice hike anyway.

Mo and I hiked McGee Creek after we had explored the Owen’s River Gorge closer to Bishop.  I think we hiked / walked the “lower gorge” as we dead ended at the power plant.  The walk was exposed and along a paved road that the Department of Water and Power (DWP) used to access the power plant.  We saw some climbers and fishermen but overall felt like it wasn’t really a nature hike like we were looking for.  It was interesting but very exposed.  I thought it would be cool to bike it before I realized it dead ended about two miles in.  We went to explore another section of the gorge but changed our mind as a big asphalt truck went by us.
Owen's River Gorge

The drive to McGee Creek Canyon switchbacks up a hill with beautiful views of Crowley Lake.  Drive past the campground and the pack station to the small parking area with a bathroom and a few camp spots.  The trail is easy to follow with a few different paths that get you where you are going.  We took the path that veered left to walk in the aspens and next to a very full and fast moving McGee Creek.  We walked through patches of snow and eventually met up again with the main trail. 

The beginning of our hike was exposed as we were walking in a canyon carved by a glacier.  Eventually we made our way into some aspen trees but not before crossing a few minor streams that had decided to flow in the middle of the trail.  Eventually we got to a place where we could not continue our hike because the snow blocked our path.  It was still a lovely day and we enjoyed the hike very much.

When we returned to Mammoth we tried a different brewery for "after hike beers".  This time is was Mammoth Brewing Company and for the first time I got to sit outside on their patio as I have only gone here in the winter before.  Mo and I agreed it was a great way to end our day.


Current Crush: topless & barefoot, constellation, and hipsters

Crushes can be so fun! During the first part of them.

I mean they are are called "crushes" because they ultimately crush your soul.  At least the high school romantic varieties of crushes. I am SO GLAD that part of my life is over.  And as a romantic side note, I ended up marrying my college crush and am happy to report I have continued to have a crush on him for almost twenty years..... Holy CUSSword!  Almost Twenty Years.......
Torii and Elizabeth


Okay, back to my current crushes that don't actually crush my soul and are not of the romantic variety.  I have three current crushes and they make me feel a little bit more giddy than might be normal.  I mean, these are just ordinary things that I have a little crush on.

First up:  topless & barefoot nail polish from Essie.  Described as a "barely there soft beige pink", I kind of love this nail polish color.  It just makes me happy when I paint my nails this color when it starts to get warmer.  It looks natural, or maybe I should say neutral, but a little polished.  I used to paint my nails all the time and have noticed that I am not so religious about it anymore.  Not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I do know that I always love it when I paint my nails this color!

hands hold mug
-----Essie Topless & Barefoot nail polish from laurens-list.com

Next crush:  Aquarius Constellation Ring.  I found this ring at a local store and kind of loved it.  Mine is silver with crystals as the stars, and it was a fun idea to wear my birth constellation as a ring.  I am not into "my sign" or horoscopes but this ring kind of charmed me and I smile when I look down and see I am wearing it.  I found some online at luulla.com if you are interested in having a constellation ring of your own!

constellation ring chart

Third crush:  Hipster Cocktail Radio on Pandora.  Pandora is a music streaming service that let's you create stations by songs, artist, or themes.  You can create a free account and thumbs up or thumbs down songs to curate your music stations.  Free accounts have a few commercials and paid accounts do not.  I stumbled across this music station in a store.  I was there with my sisters and we commented how good the music playlist was.  The girl working told us it was Hipster Cocktail Radio on Pandora and I have been hooked ever since.

So there you have my current crushes.  The everyday items that are making me a little more giddy about my day than I normally am.  And lucky for me, these crushes will probably turn into lasting relationships!


A well placed accessory

This morning I wanted to wear my pajamas to work.


I was tired and didn't want to get dressed.  It happens near the end of the spring semester.  The burn out / draining / do I have to go to work feeling.  I guess I should consider myself lucky that it doesn't happen more often.  I hear there are people that feel like this everyday they have to go to work......

So I pulled myself together and got ready for work and two things happened.

The first is that I put on a big black and white striped / geometric scarf that I got at H&M during the New Orleans trip and the second is that I wore jeans to work.

JEANS! What is happening to me?

The truth, my work fashion is evolving and I just realized it.

This blog is not a fashion blog but I do talk about what I wear sometimes.  Ironically my number one blog post is my Lucky Dozen Challenge blog post which is a post about a clothing challenge the Little Sister and I did some years ago.  It was when I was at my previous job and I had a lot of reasons to look very professional. During my nine years at that job I curated a specific look and had a lot of people tell me they were always inspired by my style.  You can see some of my other Lucky Dozen challenge photos on my Flickr account.

When I resigned, my new job was close enough to my house that I could ride my bike to work.  A lot of my old work outfits didn't work on the bike so I modified them and over the first year (which just ended) and realized my work look had evolved.

There are a number of reasons for this.  Riding my bike to work was one factor.  My job is different and not so "public" facing so I am not always on display.  A lot of my colleagues are casual (college professors) and the building where my office is has a mix of really nice dressed people (the president and vice presidents) all the way to the student workers. It is a fashion mix for sure.

My own style has been evolving over this past year and today I wore jeans for the first time to work.  They were new jeans.  Dark and boot cut.  Very flattering.  I got them a few weeks ago and love them.  Never underestimate a good pair of jeans.  This morning I just wanted to feel comfortable for work so I put on the dark jeans, a black sweater, and some cute flats.  I then added the geometric scarf and headed to work.

I was comfortable and looked put together.  A little French-ish actually.  My day was open so I didn't need to see anyone in a meeting.  I was walking across the lobby when a colleague saw me and said, "You look fabulous.  A well placed accessory is everything.".  And just like that, I realized my style had evolved.  And that I might even wear jeans again to work. And that scarves can take a boring outfit and change it into something special.  It is the power of a well placed accessory.... and a power i need to embrace more often.


Hiking Parker Lake, June Lake Loop, Eastern Sierra, California

It’s been a number of years since I started visiting the Eastern Sierra.  Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in the movie Groundhog Day and living the same day over, and over, and over again (hello ski season during the last drought).  Other times I am overwhelmed with how much I haven’t seen.  

The week following Memorial Day, Russia / Costa Rica / Iceland Mo and I spent five days exploring the Mammoth area.  One one of those days we hiked to Parker Lake.

Parker Lake Trailhead sign

Parker Lake is on the June Lake Loop.  The dirt path leading to the trailhead is off of Grant Lake.  The June Lake Loop is a road you can take that goes around June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake.  If you started the loop at June Lake, the turn off for Parker Lake is at the end of Grant Lake right before you hit Highway 395.  If you want to skip the June Lake Loop, you can catch the end of it on Highway 395 and drive into the dirt road for the Parker Lake trailhead.

Parker Lake was not on my radar and the reason we hiked it was because enough snow had melted that the trail was accessible and in good shape.  A ranger at the welcome center in Mammoth recommended it and I was glad she did.  It was a record snowfall this year and I didn’t realize how many hikes were still snowed in until this trip.  Mammoth Mountain (the ski hill) has said it will stay open for skiing until August if that helps to paint a picture.  Devils Postpile is hoping to open mid-July but still reports over 20 feet on the road.  Bottom line, California had a great snow year and I wasn’t thinking about that when this “hiking” trip was planned.  Lucky for us, we had Parker Lake.

My very old (1969) The Mammoth Lakes Sierra (Genny Schumacher) states the hike to Parker lakes is an “Intermediate Hike, 2 miles”.  I guess that is true.  My heart did get pumping during the first part of the hike, but then I got into a rhythm and it was a nice hike.  The trail was easy to follow and well maintained.  The first part of the hike is exposed (no tree cover) but then you come to some aspen groves for shade at different parts of the hike.  Starting out you are above Parker Creek and eventually the trail finds the creek and you finish the hike walking next to it to Parker Lake.

Parker Lake is another beautiful lake in the Eastern Sierra.  I don’t think they will ever stop taking my breath away. The U-shaped glacier carved valley makes a spectacular backdrops to the melted snow lake.  

 We did this hike on Memorial Day and there were a lot of hikers and even about four tents at the lake.  The day was sunny but not hot.  When we stopped at the lake for a snack and break, it was a little chilly in the shade.  As of the writing of this, the Parker Lake trail is dog friendly!

The hike back had a beautiful view of Mono Lake in the background.  

After the hike Mo and I drove the June Lake Loop back to June Lake.  Mo didn’t remember doing it before and it is a beautiful drive.  The area is technically called the “June Lake Basin” and in addition to the four lakes accessible by car on the June Lake Loop, there are numerous other lakes (like Parker Lake) you can get to by hiking.  I have hiked to Fern Lake before and was excited to see so many other lakes to hike in this area.

We ended the day at the June Lake Brewery and Mo took this funny photo with our beer and one of my water bottles.  Stay hydrated up there!  With water, not beer…..