The Hot Spring Solution

Normally, 2000′ feet of climbing does not bother me (much), assuming the grade is reasonably 8% or less and I’m not starting too far above sea level. But starting at 7000′ and climbing up to 9000′ is a different matter. Even more so after having reached my advanced age. What’s an old dog to do?

Mario and I have been staying at a condo in Mammoth Lakes (thanks Melissa) for the past couple of nights, and this morning decided to start our ride at Tom’s Place, which is a store/bar/restaurant/lodge south on US395 toward the town of Bishop. From Tom’s, first we rode downhill to the business end of Crowley Lake to see the dam and the upper end of the Owens River Gorge.

Then we rode back up the same road, passed Tom’s Place and headed up Rock Creek Road, intending to climb to Rock Creek Lake. By the time we gained 2000′ feet at East Fork campground, I for one was feeling the altitude, as in not enough oxygen being delivered to my blood. Just past the entrance to the campground the road turned to gravel, and that was enough of an excuse for me to decline going farther up, leaving us about 7 kilometers short of Rock Creek Lake.

After a short break we pointed downhill and released the brakes. It was a much quicker journey going down, but we took a pounding while at speed from the pavement cracks and dips. This is snow & ice country in the winter and the pavement shows it.

Despite not making it to the high lake, we felt that our efforts deserved a reward anyway, so we drove directly to a remote hot spring on the north side of Crowley Lake and soaked away any cares from the day. A cold beer helped too. That’s what an old dog does.

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