Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A trip to Mammoth Lakes

Today I checked my box at Biola expecting to find a pile of paperwork. Instead, there was a bag of my favorite chocolate mints from Trader Joe's, along with a note from a colleague.

Then, I went to a workshop at my university about its new computer grading system, and instead of being one of 20 faculty members receiving training, I unexpectedly got one-on-one training. If you've ever sat next to me while I've tried to navigate computer technology, then you understand this is a fantastic and necessary turn of events, indeed.

And then I enjoyed a steaming cup of my favorite tea, and I talked to my grandma on my 30-minute break, and I laughed with my students while discussing Rogerian argument, and I made plans to meet a friend for a fall concert.

This day has been lovely. Actually, this whole fall has been lovely. It's been full of staggering grace and unexpected joy. Several weeks ago, my friends started praying that God would use this year to teach me his unbounded love and compassion for me. The results of their prayers often have me tingling with wonder-filled delight. Seriously: the goosebumps, you guys; the goosebumps.

One of my most favorite fall gifts is the trip some friends and I took to Mammoth Lakes last weekend. It was glorious. "The weather this weekend is the best it's been all summer and fall," a local told us. I believe him. Everyday the sun lazily stretched his rays across a banner of bluest sky, occasionally peering into the many looking glass lakes to admire his cheery reflection.

My friends, A and J, have a cabin on the edge of one of the Mammoth lakes. The cabin, built in the early 1900's, can't be accessed by road, so it is private and rustic.

The cabin is peeking through the trees on the left-hand side of this photo

From the cabin's deck we could see the fish jumping across the lake (and boy were they jumpy!). At night, the laughter of a nearby stream floated through the open windows. 

The lake on which the cabin is situated is stunning. I especially loved watching the lake's colors shift with the movement of the sun. It was mesmerizing. In some lights the water was cobalt blue; in others it rippled with ribbons of turquoise and jade.

We canoed daily

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." -Anne Shirley

When we weren't canoeing we were romping through glens dappled with sunshine and forests alight with flaming trees.

The fall colors were certainly at their peak!

My dear friend, A, is pregnant with her and J's first baby!

Just look at the aspen lining the lake! Aspen are my favorite tree. The way they quiver and whisper in the breeze, their slender white trunks, their electric tangerine leaves each autumn — they simultaneously soothe and stir up stuff in my soul. One day, when I grow up, I want to live on acreage with an aspen-lined brook.

A and her husband, J, are dear friends who go way back. I met A at a father/daughter camp, just weeks before I moved to California for school. She and I hit it off immediately, and then we discovered she was a sophomore at the college I'd be attending. Our friendship was destined to be! And now, 11 years later, she's married to a good man, pregnant with their first baby, and still my loyal friend. A and J are some of the most wise, generous, kind, compassionate and fun people you'll ever meet. What a special gift they will be to their baby.  


Most of my southern California friends are "beach people." The beach is their destination of choice. But you can't take the Washington out of a girl and the mountains are my favorite place in the world. They make me feel fully alive and awake. And the stars, oh the stars! They hang so thick and low at Mammoth you could reach up and grab them, which makes Mammoth the perfect place to bring star charts. Except, you guys: I FORGOT TO BRING MY STAR CHARTS! This means I have to go back again soon with star charts in hand. Hey, it ain't a bad situation, Jack.

If the evening star-gazing was glorious, then the mornings were glorious-er. Every morning I'd crawl out of bed, brew a cuppa tea, and walk around the lake taking pictures.

Goooood morning!

If my soul were a fiddle, then the mornings at Mammoth would be skilled hands coaxing the happiest jig-inducing folk music out of me. 

The time to pack our bags and close up the cabin came too soon. But you know, the beauty I returned to is pretty special, too:

What a wonderful world we live in.

I hope you have a joyful, beautiful day, my friends!


© by scj


  1. Lovely. With the mountains and the beach under your belt, you just need a visit to Joshua Tree to complete the SoCal trifecta!

    1. John, you are absolutely right! I hear late October is a grand time to hit up Joshua Tree. Hmmm, a trip may be in order....

      (Email response soon to come).