Swimming the June Lake Tri in 2013. Photo by Minaret Photography

There is something about this place. It’s nostalgic. I sip my coffee, close my eyes, and breathe. The feeling haunts me … but in a good way.

Yes, i used to have a road bike. Lune Lake Tri 2013. Photo by Minaret Photography.

In 2013, I did the June Lake Triathlon. Maybe it started there. After a stressful start, i struggled during the mile swim and flatted twice on the ride. I had to get a lift back to the expo area. A friend did the run for me while i volunteered for the local adaptive sports program (Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra). I manned the beer tent, pouring and drinking, forgetting the day’s woes, and just feeling stoked that i went for it.

Then there was the day I swam out to the rock and Freedom followed me, his paws striking through the crystal clear turquoise water above as i hid below, struggling to hold my breath as i held back the urge to giggle. He tried to climb up on the rock, but it was too slippery. We swam back to shore together and cuddled in the sun.

Freedom swimming.

It could be the day we drank too many beers and my friends carried me out to the rope swing at nearby Gull Lake. Dark round clouds loomed ominously overhead. The air was thick with humidity. We sat under the awning outside the brewery and watched the rain slam down, thunder rumbling in the distance. Over beers, i offhandedly mentioned i always wanted to get out to the rope swing, not thinking anything of it. My friends, of course, would not take no for answer and piggybacked me out there—a day never to be forgotten.

Gull Lake Rope Swing. It got weird.

Countless good memories swirl in my head. Memory soup. Now there’s June Lake Brewery and Ohana’s, the food truck out front. Together, they make for the best beer and food in the Sierras and are the main reason i go there. When i visit Mammoth, its a given that I will spend at least one day at June Lake, which is about 40 mins north, up the 395. The whole purpose is to eat some good poke at Ohana’s and drink some tasty beer at the brewery. But, of course, some flavor of outdoor adventuring needs to precede the tomfoolery.

Foxy and me on the fire road

Foxy and me on the fire road

This last trip, we hit a snag figuring out what trails i could ride and eventually defaulted to exploring fire roads. We had a good time. The views are unreal. The beers, deserved. Without fat tires, its pretty arduous riding due to the soft sand. I have much more research to do in that area. I used to swim and then road-bike the June Lake Loop. I want to get back to that—my usual swim in the lake, followed by a fun ride, and finish at the brewery. The perfect triathlon: Swim, Bike, Beers.

There are several other roads and trails i want to explore near June. One of them started as a sheep herding trail. It leads from the lake area to Reserve Peak. It would be ideal for the triathlon if it’s doable for me. That’s one trail I’ll be riding on my next trip. There are more off the June Mountain Ski Resort. My plan is to climb up the fire roads, and then downhill some single track. Ride it like a bike park.

Stay tuned for more on June Lake. In the meantime, please enjoy the views and shenanigans from my latest trip to June in the latest video from the UNP: