Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beaver Ponds Loop

Today all NPS employees had to attend an all day training session. After the training, Erica and I decided to go on a hike to stretch our legs after sitting all day. It had been cold and rainy all day, but by the end of the meeting, the weather had turned beautiful. We chose the Beaver Ponds Loop, a 5.1 mile hike that begins and ends in Mammoth. 

The trail began next to the Mammoth Terraces. Early on, we crossed a wooden bridge over a stream and then began climbing gradually.  There were lots of pretty bright yellow flowers alongside the trail. 

After about 2 miles, we came to the first of several ponds. We watched as a duck dived over and over into the water after fish. 

The first Beaver Pond

Another Beaver Pond

Wildflowers along the trail

After passing several ponds, we entered a section of forest. There we saw a deer eating some of the grass growing between the trees. 

Soon we left the woods for a flat, grassy section of trail that gave us a great view of the surrounding mountains and the full moon above. Here we saw a beautiful elk walking past us to the left. 

Full moon and antler

Elk walking past

After about a mile more, Mammoth came back into view from the hills above where we were. From there, we could see not only the town but also the terraces and Bunsen Peak. 

Mammoth comes into view

Mammoth from the trail above

Mammoth, the terraces, and Bunsen Peak

View from the trailhead at the end of the hike

After we finished hiking, we headed to the Mammoth community center, where we joined other park employees for pickup dodgeball. After sitting in meetings all day, the hike and the dodgeball were the perfect way to end the day! 

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