Mountain Memories

crystal crag lake george

Hello!  Gourmet Girl Denise here!  This past week several friends of mine made the six hour trip from Santa Barbara, CA to Mammoth Lakes in the high Sierra mountains.  I couldn’t help but feel rather left out, since I have been going up to Mammoth since I was 18 years old (a really long time ago!), either to ski  in the winter or to stay in a friends adorable log cabin in the summer with my family.  For about 7 years we spent a week each summer at that cabin, which was equipped with a wood burning stove on which I always managed to cook our meals.  It was a challenge, but I loved it.  I felt like a real pioneer woman!

The cabin was just above Twin Lakes on Lake Mamie, and was located next to a thundering waterfall that connected the two lakes.  It is part of what is called the Falls Tract, a small group of several cabins all built around 1920.  Fishing poles were hung on the rafters where one could barely make out the scribbles of the many happy guests over the years, each one writing about how wonderful it was to be staying at the little cabin in the woods.  Chipmunks and Blue Jays ate peanuts out of your hands, and antlered bucks would sometimes make their way up the steep hill from Twin Lakes and surprise you as you made your way to a favorite, craggy lookout point.  I often thought that Walt Disney must have based his cartoons on the creatures of the Sierra.

In front of one of the cabins stands an ancient Red Fir tree that someone had affixed a hand made sign to that read “Sierra’s Sweet Solitude”.  The perfect description of what it was like there.  Over the years we would visit the tree and notice that the bark had grown over the sign just a little bit each year.  Recently I went back to visit the tree and the sign was completely gone; engulfed by the tree.  Amazing!

We puny humans mean very little to the natural world.  I always keep this image in my mind when the news of the day depressingly speaks of man’s contribution to climate change and environmental destruction.  We should definitely change our ways, but in the end, when mankind has perished from the face of the earth, I’d like to think that the ancient Red Fir is still standing, holding in its heart a relic of a species that, in spite of it’s faults, loved the natural world.  And especially the Sierras.


Denise, Gail and Lindsey-The Gourmet Girls on Fire