2022 Aug 14 | Ogii birthday in Mammoth - Crystal Lake and Rainbow Falls hikes

I love how people can post exactly where they took a picture on Google Maps.

So we can decide if we want to hike for 20 minutes.

Or an hour to get a better shot.

Only a 15-minute drive from our hotel to the trail.

One problem with starting before sunrise is unless the trailhead is well marked, you might miss it.

Which we did. So instead of hiking on a well-created trail, we were hiking along deer trails, if that.

It was definitely much harder, although for the most part, it was fairly easy brush. A few spots we had to climb some rocks, though.

That looks like it might lead to the actual trail.

Yep, finally.

This tree was growing right into this rock.

Great spot for a sunrise.


One thing about hiking through the non-trail: it makes you appreciate the actual trail more.

Even a few rocks and roots are nothing to worry about compared to what we went through on the way here.


Twisted log.

This was the problem with the trailhead: there are multiple lighter areas where you could start.

And they're all behind cars parked on private residences.

We had actually walked up to this point in the morning before turning around because it didn't look like a trailhead here. I guess we should have pushed a little farther into the trees.

Beautiful view of the lake from their deck.

Lots of campers.

The sun lights up the hills in the back with the full moon above.


Coming up on the Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

Some lift chairs above the road.

You can see a couple on the tops of the mountains.

There is a mandatory shuttle for the Rainbow Falls hike if you don't get there before 7am, so we really wanted to beat that.

Mammoth Mountain ski resport.

A gondola.

We easily made it before 7am; it's only 6:40am.

Nobody manning the station yet. Which makes sense; if you can just drive in, why have someone there. You only need somewhere there to turn people away.

Rather skinny road.

Lots of flowers.

A deer.

The parking lot was pretty empty.

It was still a bit cool, so we napped for a couple of hours before starting the hike.

There is a ton of dust on Ogii's RAV4 from all of the dirt roads we've been driving on.


Beginning of the hike.

They cut through a big dree.

Don't forget which way we came from.

Another fork.

Lots of flowers.

And a few small animals.

He's enjoying his breakfast.

The top of the falls.

Don't fall off.

A tree with lots of exposed roots at the first outlook. This couple got there at the same time we did and became our picture buddies. We took a picture of them...

... then they took a picture of us.

Rainbow Falls.

Me on the big tree.

Three viewpoints.

From the second lower one.

The small spot of pink in the middle-right is Ogii on the way down the stairs.

And there she is way at the bottom of the picture.

Us at the bottom.

Some flowers on the right side.

Steep rock walls up.

With lots of moss and lichen.

A little bee.

Flying away.

Just the falls.

White flowers.

Some people walked in the water below the falls.

Headed back up.

Some people rode horses.

Ogii on the stairs from the second viewpoint.

Me on the second viewpoint from the stairs.

Lots of people sit around here.

And they must drop some food because there are a lot of little guys running around.

Running over here.

More food.

We were hoping to see a rainbow across the falls, but there wasn't one now. It's supposed to be best around mid-day, but we decided to start back and leave early rather than wait around for a couple hours when we might not even see a rainbow.

Ogii in a big tree trunk.

A burned one.

Ogii wants to take the path back to the store instead of the parking lot.

Squiggly tree.

Beautiful view of the mountains.

Lots of people at the ski resort.

A little stop sign for bikers.

There were lots of small stores around this area.

With housing above them.

Neat sign.

Blake DeBock gallery.

Lots of pretty pictures.

He assisted Aaron Chang, who has a gallery in Carmel. The gallery seems very similar.

Bear and cubs.

Various editions.

I wonder how many people buy the artist proofs.

We grabbed some pizza for lunch. I'm not sure about the mystery slice. That sounds like whatever didn't sell from last night.

Big slices.

Another gallery.

Also very nice inside.

Some very big prints.

Smaller ones pre-packaged so they're easy to grab and go.

If you're stopped here, it's about an hour wait to get into Yosemite. Thankfully we came in when nobody else did.

And only had one car in front of us.

We covered ourselves from the sun.

Half Dome from Big Oak Flat Rd.

From different directions.

It's a pretty sheer face.

Some elk in the fields on the drive home.