From moonsets to mountain climbing, our Deputy Ed discovers first-hand why California’s Mammoth Lakes is awesome for the soul
California’s Mammoth Lakes region is big, beautiful and breathtaking
I’ve seen many sunsets: ones from wooden cliff-side bars in the littleknown paradise of El Nido in the Philippines, above the blue-domed buildings overlooking the waters of Santorini in Greece, and (nowhere near as glamorous but still kinda nice) through the windows by the toilets at Women’s Health HQ.
A moonset, however? I’ve never seen one before. It’s not even crossed my mind such a thing exists until now, as I shiver in the crisp autumn evening in Mammoth Lakes, California, watching the moon disappear behind the silhouette of a mountainous skyline. With the moon’s exit, the backdrop of thousands of stars take centrestage. Streaks of light flash every two minutes. Are those shooting stars?
The guide who brought me to this lookout point, Minaret Vista, answers, “Yes, they are.” I’m so in awe I forget to make a wish.
This experience, which has reduced my vocabulary to one drawn-out ‘wooow’, is why I’m in Mammoth. Months ago, I read a research paper from the University of California, Irvine, suggesting that awe-inducing activities make us act less selfishly (and more considerately of others) because we’re reminded of how small we are in the world. My life needed an injection of awe – the stress of city living feeling all-consuming – and
I’d heard Mammoth was one of the world’s best spots for stargazing. It’s delivering: the unending clusters of possible suns and solar systems make me feel tiny, yet expansive.
This feeling of lightness has been a recurring sensation over the past three days. I call it ‘the Mammoth Lakes effect’. From the moment I landed at Mammoth Yosemite Airport, the vast, varied landscape of high desert, lush forests and