they call it mammoth for a reason

We are quickly checking more places off our list of must-sees in Northern California, and they are quickly getting more and more spectacular. Last weekend was Mammoth Lakes, and the quickest way to get to Mammoth from San Francisco includes driving right through the middle of Yosemite National Park, so that was a little bonus. The five-hour drive was turned into an eight-hour day-trip with a stop for breakfast at a cozy, small-town diner called the Mangy Moose in the random town of Manteca, California, and a hike in Yosemite to the Tuolumme Grove of Giant Sequoias. Highway 120 through the national park offers some awesome views of the mountain peaks and domes, particularly the famous Half Dome. Eventually we made it through Yosemite and down to the rustic town of Mammoth Lakes and our hotel, the Westin Monache Resort, where two outdoor hot tubs and a heated pool were waiting for us, surrounded by pine trees and Mammoth Mountain. As it's not quite ski season, but no longer summer, Mammoth Lakes is in a bit of a limbo, so with nothing really to do, we were forced to relax and enjoy the scenery. Tough job.

After lunch the next day at the very cute Convict Lake Resort, where we admired the golden leaves on the aspen trees and had homemade chili and, quite possibly, the best pulled pork sandwich I've ever tasted, we headed back the way we came, through Yosemite, though Manteca, across the Bay Bridge, and back to San Francisco. The only difference was the 10 minutes of snow that fell on us as we were waiting to enter Yosemite through the park's eastern gate....ski season is on its way.

The Western entrance to Yosemite National Park on Hwy 120

On our way down to the sequoias
Giant Sequoia
Giant Sequoia + tunnel
View over Yosemite from the highway
Another stunning view, with Half Dome in the background
Half Dome
Convict Lake
Convict Lake
Convict Lake
Convict Lake Resort
Aspen trees at Convict Lake
Snow at the eastern entrance to Yosemite

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