One can zoom across the Sierras by I-80. But it’s way more soulful, as my son Ethan pointed out, to cross via Tioga Pass. Since we were in no real hurry and had designs on certain locales on the eastern side of the mountains, we chose the latter. It was cloudy as we left the Bay Area, and it began to rain as we passed through Groveland. Then, as we drove uphill into Yosemite we began to encounter the aftermath of last year’s Rim Fire. Wow. That was a BIG fire! We left the burned portion of the forest further on, arriving at our evening’s campsite at Porcupine Flat. It froze that night, and the forest steamed in the morning sun.
Not many miles beyond our evening’s campsite, we came to the spectacular Olmsted Point. This is a spot that always deserves an unhurried visit. On this occasion, we climbed the low-angle slabs of a small dome that rises across from the parking area. And we saw that the upper elevations had been blanketed by snow the prior evening.
From Olmsted Point, we drove about a mile to the base of the Stately Pleasure Dome and watched some climbing action, which included a free solo ascent of the Great White Book, and two climbers on a route just to the left of the former.
A short ways further up the road is Tuolomne Meadows, another wonderful place. We climbed the low-angle slabs of Pt. 9163.
From Tioga Pass the road descends steeply to the east, and arrives at the village of Lee Vining and Mono Lake. When she was a child, Kathy and family boated on Mono Lake before it was robbed of much of its water by the City of Los Angeles.
Bridgeport is another wonderful place – a town that hasn’t visibly changed over the number of decades that I’ve known it (starting in the early 60s). It sits at the eastern edge of a well-watered valley that is full of good looking beeves, with a magnificent view to the west of the peaks of northern Yosemite NP. At higher elevation, adjacent to the western extremity of the valley is Twin Lakes and the private resort of Mono Village, located at the upper end of Upper Twin Lakes. Directly above Mono Village rise Matterhorn Peak and the Sawtooth Ridge, which form the northern boundary of Yosemite NP. I’ve spent a lot of time in those peaks, both on foot and on skis. Having discovered Albert’s Butcher Shop on a prior visit, we returned, to purchase steaks and other meats. The Porterhouse steaks we purchased there were of an almost obscene thickness and size. The meat was expensive, but we were on vacation, after all! We had no difficulty finding a campsite for the evening, at the lower Twin Lake CG. We had big plans for the morrow!
Part 8 is about fishing! It’s about the East Walker River and Pyramid Lake, NV. Don’t miss it!