Sunday, July 12, 1998

Eastern Sierra trip report

I just got back from a three-day trip to the Eastern Sierra with my parents. There are many attractions in the Mammoth Lakes area, so we decided it would make a great weekend destination. It was indeed lots of fun, so here's the trip report for your enjoyment. :-)

Day 1

Mammoth Lakes was about 335 miles from our house, so most of the day was spent on the road. The route took us through Yosemite National Park as the town was just to the southeast. Because visitors passing through the park still had to pay the $20 entrance fee as usual, my parents and I figured we might as well enjoy the views. Yosemite is certainly one of those places that never get old.

It didn't take too long to get to Mammoth Lakes after leaving Yosemite. The three of us checked into our hotel and rested for a bit before heading to the nearby Hot Creek Geologic Site. One of my teachers at the Morgan Center had told me about this place because she knew I loved hot springs. There were indeed lots of them, and this was the best part of the trip. Thanks, Megan!

However, I couldn't help but notice how dumb people can be. Certain parts of the creek were fenced off because the underwater springs could suddenly erupt and cause serious burns, but some bathers ignored the warning signs and went into the closed areas anyway. You know, I have a feeling this isn't going to end well.

Day 2

We went to Devils Postpile National Monument after breakfast to see the iconic basalt formation that gave the monument its name. It definitely looked more impressive in person than in pictures. But there wasn't much else to do here, so my mother suggested that we check out Rainbow Falls. Mom loves waterfalls, so we went with her recommendation.

Despite being only 1.3 miles, the hike was extremely demanding as the trail was hot and dry. To make matters worse, there was no shade due to the trees having been destroyed in a forest fire many years ago. Not exactly my idea of a good time. But the grueling hike wasn't without its rewards: Rainbow Falls turned out to be quite a refreshing sight when we finally arrived there. So refreshing, in fact, that we almost forgot we had to walk all the way back to the trailhead!

Speaking of which, the return trip was even more difficult because we had run out of water. It's a miracle we didn't die of heat exhaustion. To be honest, I don't think the waterfall was worth the trouble.

Day 3

The highlight of the day was Bodie, California's most famous ghost town. While there, I found out that ghost towns are not towns that are haunted, but those that have been abandoned. I guess we all learn something new every day. It was nonetheless a little creepy to see all those decades-old buildings with nobody inside them. No wonder these places are called ghost towns.

There was still plenty of time, so we stopped at Mono Lake and the Mono-Inyo Craters before heading home. Formed in ancient volcanic eruptions, the craters were a fascinating sight, although the same could certainly be said for Mono Lake. I really liked those two places as geology is one of my major interests.


The weather was quite hot during the day as this is the middle of July. The heat was almost unbearable at times, but that did not make the trip any less fun. On the whole, the trip was very enjoyable. The hot springs at Hot Creek were the highlight of our vacation, with an honorable mention going to the Mono-Inyo Craters. I think the Mammoth Lakes area is one of the best places to visit, and I'd love to go back there sometime - perhaps when it's a bit cooler.

In other news...

I'm taking a summer class about insects at Egan Junior High School right now. As I'll be going to Egan in the fall, my parents thought this would be a great way for me to get acquainted with my future school. This class is much more exciting than the reading one, that's for sure!

Thursday, July 2, 1998

went to see Armageddon today

As my aunt Phoenix and her daughter Lori are visiting from Taiwan, my parents decided to take them to the movies. This was pretty exciting as my family doesn't go to the theater all that often.

But there was a little problem: Phoenix and Lori wanted to see Disney's Mulan while I wanted to see Armageddon. I wouldn't have minded watching both movies, but that wasn't an option due to time constraints. It was up to me and my aunt and cousin as my parents had no preference. I ultimately managed to convince the ladies that Armageddon was the better choice.

Armageddon was indeed pretty awesome. It's about a group of unlikely heroes - oil rig workers to be exact - who must try to save Earth from a gigantic asteroid. The theater was packed as the movie had just come out yesterday.

Having seen Deep Impact (another recent film with a similar but more plausible plot) last month, I felt Armageddon was much more lighthearted. Spoiler warning. One of my favorite scenes was when the Russian guy "fixed" the shuttle's engines by whacking the controls with a wrench. There were a few other funny scenes as well, although I won't spoil them for you. Of course, the movie wasn't without its tear-jerking moments either: the saddest part was when Harry had to tell his daughter Grace that he wasn't coming home. Spoilers end here. All in all, Armageddon was a good movie.

But I don't think Phoenix and Lori enjoyed it very much, considering that they fell asleep in the theater. I felt kind of bad afterwards; they were our guests, so we should have let them pick what they wanted to see. I guess I shouldn't be so persuasive next time. *shrugs*

Currently watching: Armageddon
Release date: July 1, 1998