How long has this desolate little trailer been sitting there on the corner next to The Fun Shoppe? Too long.
So when I rolled into town and saw smoke billowing from behind it, I worried for a milisecond that after years of deserted neglect it had caught fire and was going down in a blaze of glory.
What a relief to realize that no, I didn't need to call our overworked Mammoth Fire Department. Instead, this tiny wasted space had been taken over by some awesome dudes creating the best kind of smoke.
We don't eat out much. With 4 kids on crazy schedules, who tend to be crazy in restaurants, we usually just pick up food and head to Sonenalp where we can sit by the fire, make a drink, relax and watch the crazy play out in the privacy of our own home. So Uncle Jimmy's is my kind of place and I couldn't wait to give it a try.
The next day, between 5 trips to DIY for parts to install new kitchen appliances (that's a different story), we stopped in for a quick bite on my way to drop the Fisherboy for some last-of-the-season Hot Creek fly fishing.
The Fisherboy went for the pig-n-chips and I had the Jimmy's Philly. We opted to have them 'heart attack style" which just means pepperoncini and aoili added-- good call.
The meat was smoked to perfection. My food came with cole slaw and beans, which I didn't even eat because the sandwich was so huge. (In fact, I only ate half the sandwich, too!) The other side option is PotatoMac salad, which for me (as a carb-avoider) isn't a great choice, but is a specialty of the house. Fisherboy's Pig Chips were the winner of the day, stacked high and broiled to add browned flavor and even more crunch than you might expect.
I've heard some locals complain about the prices of the food at Jimmy's. But my experience is that their prices are pretty much spot-on. Anywhere you go in Mammoth, you're going to pay these same prices-- and often for poor quality food and a seating wait of 30 minutes -an hour.
At Jimmy's, they made our food fresh, to order, and still we were in and out of there in 7 minutes. They do offer family-style meals and sides by the 1/2 quart or quart, which is probably the way to go with a group of crazy like mine.
Some restaurant sites are cursed. You know what I mean. Once a building is tainted by terrible food, it just seems that all new restaurants that try to open in that space are doomed to fail.
So when I saw that The Warming Hut was opening where a so-unfortunate-it-shall-not-be-named restaurant used to be, I felt regret for this new place, fearing it would always be overshadowed by the painfully mediocre (at best) food and service that came before.
Looking to kick up some western dust and imagine life as a gold-seeking desperado? Take a drive to Bodie Ghost Town and let this relic, suspended in a state of decayed antiquity, transport you to the 19th century wild west.
Looking for somewhere to cool off? This ain't it. Looking to immerse yourself in majestic mountain views? Soak up natural healing waters? Paint yourself in mineral rich mud? Then throw on your suit and head to the natural hot springs off of Bentron Crossing.
So, Big Pine is a small town with some Big Problems. I've shared that in an article on our companion blog, Glam on the Lam. You can (and if you plan to spend much time in Big Pine you should) read that here.
But there's some good, easily accessible, high-yield fishing if you know where to go.
So, I can't say this hike is necessarily easy. In fact, it isn't. But at least it is short-- and it is totally, completely worthwhile. In fact, it may be the best pain to pleasure ratio in all the hikes we've done.
Families who are Mammoth regulars know how that the Adventure Center is a mecca of fun activities for kids with its rock wall, bungee tramp and pint-sized zipline.
Not only that, but its the portal to the Gondola Scenic tours, and vast hiking areas of the San Joaquin river areas, Devil's Postpile and Red's Meadow. Starting this summer, there are lots of new reasons to haul the littles up to the Center for easy-to-access activities.