Mammoth in the summer -- four years into a California drought -- is dry and beautiful. The cracked bark of the trees are crispy to the touch. Horseshoe Lake looks like it could very well be the last remaining, dwindling body of water in some dystopian reality. What is left where the blue arms of the lake once stretched is an expansive, dusty rim of white sand that puffs palpable clouds into the light breeze which each step. My exposed feet were caked up to my ankles. Dusty skin socks inside flip flops.
Dryness aside, the lake is still beautiful. The closer I got the ground turned from sand to hard packed earth. In the flats where moisture still held strong, there was mud. Not your quagmire type -- an irregular pattern of impressionable brown bricks with deep valleys between them. I was like a giant stepping from muddy glacier to muddy glacier. As I neared the water’s lip, my weight broke the bricks, and each step became a balancing act. The mud here was thirsty for my sandals.
There was a log lodged not too far out into the water. I could see the line where the water once lapped, about two inches higher from where it was currently soaking. Undoubtedly, the lake has more shrinking to do.
When I stopped to take a better look at the log, in a perfect line across the lake on the other edge sat a giant stone. It rested about twenty feet out of the water. These two had once swam together, and now they stared at each other. It was romantic, like they knew they could never touch, but at least now they could see.
The dog -- London, my aussie step-dog -- loved it. Practically infinite sand to run on and squirrels to chase. She was in heaven; a sandy, rubbery, squirrely dog heaven.
Mammoth is beautiful in the summer. The sky is the most pure blue, the brewing company has tasty beer, the mountain is open for biking, and the town is alive with festivals. Just don’t forget a few board games; Mammoth is a simple town.
I almost spent $149 on a handmade backgammon board, but I settled for a $2 deck of cards with bears on them.