Sierra Summit: Pink Moon Party

Hop the gondola up the mountain at Mammoth for evening fun.

FULL MOONS... boast delightful names throughout the year, but one of the most floral, and liltiest, of all the monikers, has to be the one that arrives in April. That's the Pink Moon, a poetic handle that summons both music (Nick Drake's beloved "Pink Moon") and images of the flowering world below. The moon, of course, doesn't go a deep mauve come the fourth month of the year, but it does herald what's happening on our own planet, as in the arrival of the rosy-hued phlox. There are ways to mark this moon-marvelous moment -- sipping colorful tea, eating only pink foods, donning some chromatically appropriate clothing, or simply walking outside on the right night to admire it. Or, of course, you can go up a mountain, a very big mountain, in the Sierra Nevada, with the aim of joining a light-of-heart, get-closer-to-the-moon springtime soiree. Yes, we are talking about...

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, which has gained something of a reputation for sending its famous Panorama Gondola up, up, up to one of the Sierra's tippy-toppiest points for various evening parties. This one unfurls on Saturday, April 23 -- that's Pink Moon time, natch -- and best know it'll still be quite cold on the peak, which tops out at over 11,000 feet. And the Ezakimak Challenge's finish is part of the fun, so cheer on the competitors as you enjoy tunes spun by DJ Science, "a glow walk out at Dave's Run and Lake Basin Overlook," bites for sale, sips for sale, and stuff for the kids to take part in, too. Oh yes, and the shiny centerpiece to it all? The Pink Moonrise, as viewed from on top of the world (or at least nearly on top of California, with all due respect to the king of the hills, Mt. Whitney). It's a mountain party with a challenge-fun, moon-pretty theme, and music and eats to boot. Just don't forget your own boots, with the snow and all. The phlox may be blooming here and there, but high in the Sierra flakes are still keeping temps on the bundle-up side.

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