I had talked to friends who knew the area better than me and a few different hikes had been recommended.
I decided to do Duck’s Pass up near Lake Mary and Mammoth Mountain.
The Duck’s Pass trail to Duck’s Lake is over five miles to the top of the mountain. When I researched it online I found that it was about 1,600 altitude gain.
That is about average for me for a challenging morning trail run so I thought this trail would be perfect.
I had plans to pack up my tent and camping gear the night before and camp in my SUV over night. I woke up before dawn refreshed and ready for this morning run in the forest.
At five a.m. as I crawled out of the back of my SUV it was barely even light yet and I quickly threw my contacts in and started driving.
Good bye Silver Lake. It was so gorgeous and I can not wait to come back soon.
I drove slow through the pre dawn morning as there are deer every where in these parts.
It was only a thirty minute drive South on the 395 to the campground near Lake Mary where I would park my car and find the trail head.
The only problem is I took the wrong trail head.
The Duck’s Pass trail went by about six or seven little lakes before you got to Duck’s Pass so when I saw the trail I was taking led to Emerald Lake, I just assumed that was one of the lakes along the way.
I started running up the Emerald Lake trail and not twenty feet up the trail a doe went jumping up the trail ahead of me.
This was going to be a great run.
If I could find the correct trail.
About a mile up the trail I came across Emerald Lake. The trail kept going so I just kept running up and up steadily gaining altitude.
I was trying to look at my map on my phone without running down the battery to much. As I made my way up the hillside trail I was steadily moving towards Arrowhead Lake, one of the lakes along the Duck’s Pass route.
Eventually the trail I was on crossed the actual trail I had been looking for and right after that I met up with beautiful aqua green and blue Skelton Lake, which was extremely beautiful.
At this point I was wishing I had not chosen to travel light that day with just my running pack, sun screen, snacks, water and sunglasses. I should have taken my back pack and all my fishing gear.
After running near Skelton lake I came across a few other little lakes before hitting some extremely rocky switchbacks. I actually had to walk at this point for about half a mile. At the top of the switchbacks the trail crested and I wondered, is this Duck’s Pass?
There was a huge lake ahead of me and I wondered if that was Duck’s Lake but a sign to the left said Pika Lake so I thought okay, that must be Pika Lake.
I kept running and running by this big lake and even though my battery on my phone was getting low at this point I decided to check the map and yes! This big ass lake was Duck’s Lake!
Pika Lake was just a little lake that fed into Duck’s Lake.
I turned around at that point. It was almost nine a.m. and I wanted to stop on the drive home to check out Convict Lake also.
I decided to run down the entire Duck’s Pass trail on the way back and than just figure my way back to the car. The two trail heads couldn’t be more than a quarter mile apart.
As I ran down the trail I saw about ten people at different points hiking and back packing up, most with fishing gear.
Once again I was so jealous I left my fishing pole in the car, 1,600 feet below Duck’s Pass Lake!
When I was running down the trail I could see a gorgeous lake down below me and I wondered which lake this was.
By the time I got back down to my car the weather had heated up to sixty one degrees and even though the weather felt fall like all kinds of people were out canoeing on this lake.
It was Lake Mary. I have to say I was surprised how gorgeous Lake Mary was. I had only been to Mammoth once before and we had almost gone cross country skiing at Lake Mary. It was so grey, deserted and desolate looking in the dead of winter, I was surprised by the beauty of the area in August!