June Lake, Silver Lake, Grant Lake. A series of freshwater lakes and streams that ultimately flow to Mono Lake, which has no outflow and is salt water. (images courtesy of Google maps)
Today Mario and I rode from Mammoth Lakes to June Lake, taking the Mammoth Scenic Loop Road to US395, then the June Lake turnoff west to the town. Along 395 we crossed over Deadman Summit, which marks the hydrologic boundary between the Owens Valley and the Mono Lake basin. Theoretically speaking, if I emptied my water bottle on the pavement at the top of Deadman Summit such that half of it flowed north and half flowed south, the water flowing north would end up in Mono Lake and possibly be photographed for a poster included with a Pink Floyd album (see below), while the water flowing south would find its way to Crowley Lake and into a pipe headed for LA and then quite possibly out of a spigot at Mario’s home in the city of Torrance and into his water bottle. (image courtesy of Hipgnosis design group)
Here are some photos on the way to and at June Lake:
Out of June Lake we rolled past Silver Lake and Grant Lake. While riding in a northerly direction along the west shore of Grant Lake, we had a tailwind and were pedaling smartly. When we got to the intersection with US395 and turned south, we got smacked in the face with a stiff headwind. This location was the lowest elevation of the ride today and we had to get back up and over Deadman Summit. So we had a headwind, we were heading uphill, and if the sky was dropping frozen rain it would have made for the perfect triumvirate of cycling misery. But we were not so unlucky and the weather, aside from the headwind, was lovely.
Mario and I formed a two-man paceline to help each other into the wind and up the climbs. We took a break at the cafe and petrol station located at the June Lake turnoff, and there we met some French visitors touring California on rented Harley-Davidson motorcycles with full fairings and luggage packs. I trotted out my cobwebbed French and attempted to explain why we call these motos “hogs”.
Back up and over Deadman Summit and then up Scenic Loop Road back to Mammoth Lakes. I think that today I must have made progress in the physiological adaptation to the altitude because I felt quite good and was strong even at the end, despite this being the longest ride we have done so far, as well as with the most elevation gain. Even so, a cold beer and a hot tub was welcome at the end.