On our way to Bodie we stopped at the Mono Basin Visitor Center where Mary and I spoke with a ranger about which trails in the area were accessible and open. He recommended Lundy Canyon, just 7 miles north of Lee Vining, but said he wasn’t sure if we could make it over the creek crossing at 1/2 mile in. Each armed with two hiking poles, we set out hoping for a longer hike if we could get across the stream.
It starts out as a level path through the budding aspen trees to the lake.
Elaborate beaver dam.
From there it climbs steeply up to a rocky point where we had great views of the falls.
Soon we were at the creek crossing, which turned out to be no problem at all.
In fact it was one of the easiest of many that we crossed.
We soon encountered snow but then the trail was clear again.
This was the last photo Jim took, and I took none, when we got into the deep snow and could no longer find a trail or other footprints to help us out. We all went different ways trying to figure out if we could continue, when I heard voices. Surprised that anyone else was out there since we saw no footprints in the snow, we encountered a group of four young people with skis and packs who had been out early that morning skiing down the mountain.
They pointed out the way they had gone, but there was just too much snow so we gave up and turned back. At least we made it a mile and a half.
Our lovely lunch spot on the way back.
Not a good picture but they passed us while we were eating and I hurriedly took this. I’m not sure I could cross all the streams and snow with that baggage on my back.
It was such a beautiful day for our last hike with David and Mary.
The next day after everyone left we decided to take a drive along the June Lake loop and hike the Rush Creek trail at the north end of Silver Lake. Most of the trails in the June Lake area ascend steeply, and this was no exception.
Soon we were high above the lake and entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
Starting at 7,200’, our goal was to hike two miles to 8,500’ Agnew Lake, although we didn’t know if the trail was free of snow. At 1.6 miles we had to cross the tracks of a cable car that serves an electrical substation at Agnew Lake.
In another 0.1 mile we came to our turn around point. I could feel a panic attack coming on just thinking about crossing that snow.
Had it been more level, maybe, but it was a long steep drop if that huge chunk decided to slide down the mountain.
Too bad, as we were just 0.3 mile from the lake, although the snow may have been worse up there.
A tree we just liked the look of.
Besides a good workout in a beautiful area, we wanted to visit June Lake Brewing, which just opened last year. Their double IPAs were excellent, so much so that Jim, who hates IPAs, drank my Hutte Double IPA nitro aged in bourbon barrels. They also had a strong ale aged in pinot noir barrels that was really good, but at 13.4% alcohol a few sips were enough.
Unfortunately the gnats ran us out of our beautiful site overlooking Mono Lake.
But before leaving yesterday we went down to the lake to look at the tufa. Although it was breezy we were getting bitten on the head and ears so didn’t stay too long. If you’re not familiar with Mono Lake and tufa, you can read more about it from our 2013 visit.
I was curious how far we could get on Tioga Pass Road, so we decided to drive up and see. The sign said the road was closed four miles from Hwy 395, but we kept going and going well beyond four miles. This is my favorite view, although the vastness doesn’t really come across in photos.
Soon we were passing frozen lakes and many feet of snow, although the road was completely cleared.
We saw at least a dozen cyclists making their way up.
The gate was closed at the east entrance to Yosemite National Park, 12 miles from 395.
So glad we decided to take that drive. I’m not sure spring is the right time to hang around the eastern Sierra, with the threat of storms, crazy swings in temperatures, limited trails to hike due to closed roads and snow, and gnats right now, mosquitoes to arrive soon. But it’s a gorgeous place, no matter what time of year. I think we’ll stick to late summer or fall in the future, but I’m sure we’ll return. The mountains are calling…