A Truly Mammoth Thanksgiving

Suckin' down the fish  
At Thanksgiving 1998, eager to get in some early season boarding, I headed up to Mammoth Mountain, California, to join my friends Oren Jacob and Brad Morrey, who were already there. Luckily for me, they had already scouted out the important things to do in the Mammoth Lakes area. Here we are in the middle of a racous night of Sushi, Sake, multi-player Rampage, and miniature golf that started at the prime Sushi bar at Shogun restaurant.
We did a couple days of riding at Mammoth Mountain, which was fun although as expected, coverage was thin this early in the season. But the highlight of the trip to Mammoth was a snowshoeing expedition over Mammoth Pass in the cold cold snow (there was an early season cold snap this winter). Fearless adventurers all We parked the cars at the trailhead near Tamarack Lodge and headed off. Here's (back row) me and Brad, (front) Grace Chen and Oren's parents David and Isa Jacob.
Pausing near the poisonous gas for a photo op
On the way up to Mammoth Pass, you snowshoe past this lovely sign which says, "Warning: Toxic Gases in Area". Ah, nothing like a little motivation to keep hiking (the sign refers to the carbon monoxide emissions from the volcanic blowholes in the area). Poor David and Esa had stayed back on the groomed cross-country trails, so they didn't get to breathe the poisonous gas.

On the way over the saddle point at Mammoth Pass, Oren was in the lead, and suddenly started jumping up and down and shouting, "Cool! Cool! This is sooo cool!" We ran up to see what was going on, and he pointed at the tracks. The tracks were bear tracks, coming out of the woods and joining up with the trail and headed off in the direction we were going.

I hated to point out to Oren that bear tracks going in the same direction you are is not especially a good thing when you're out in the piney woods.We eventually concluded the bear tracks were probably from the day before, although we better-part-of-valoured down a different way than the bear after a bit just in case.

Bear?  What bear?
Our objective for the snowshoe was to see how close we could get to Devil's Postpile National Monument before our turnaround time. The answer, it turned out, was not very. We eventually plopped down on these nice sunny rocks and consumed lots of granola, water, and (an Oren trademark) summer sausage with cheese and mustard. Brad and I made a quick run downhill to see if there was any chance of catching a glimpse of Devil's Postpile and succeeded only in becoming much more tired than Oren and Grace.
I can't believe I ate the whole thing
We headed back up over the pass and to the car, and went back to the condo where David and Isa had ordered 'Thanksgiving-dinner-in-a-box' from Schot's, a local bakery. It was awesome, especially with the highly honed appetites we all had at that point. In fact, Oren may have had a little too much to eat... he looked a bit faint at the table.
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