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Summer is for Hiking Part 3: Yosemite National Park, Mono Pass Trail to Spillover/ Spillway Lake, July 26, 2014
Trail Map and info for Mono Pass Trailhead – highlighted in yellow below. This map can be enlarged by clicking on it.
I highly recommend this hike – on the day I traveled, the temperatures were in the upper 70s and low 80s. Compare this to the Valley floor topping at 99 plus the smoke from the many fires – this was an outstanding meander into the wilderness. The hike is a steady upward climb – but nowhere extremely steep. The elevation gain is about 1000 feet over about approximately 4 miles.
Multiple meadows – one meadow after another currently full of wildflowers named appropriately Dana Meadows.This time I went to Spillover/Spillway Lake – next time I plan to go straight up to Mono Pass as there are a few additional lakes near the Pass (small ones), one named Summit Lake and just a bit further The Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes. It is also said you can view Mono Lake from up there as well. You can also take a trail /loop over to Mono Pass trail from Spillway Lake.
Below is the sign for Spillover Lake at around 2.3 miles. Go to the right for Spillover/Spillway Lake, go to the left for Mono Pass. The trail to the lake was still a bit marshy on spots – but most was dried out making late July a good time to do this hike. There are meadows and wildflowers everywhere.
In the photo below, look carefully to the right of the patch of snow and you will see a distant waterfall. It extends quite a ways and then disappears – one cannot see it descending into the lake.
On the return, going West. This should be Mount Dana to the North on the return stretch. It is above 13,000 feet. Next time, a trip to Dana lake from Tioga Lake. On the drive back down Tioga Road there was even more smoke and additional plumes – there seems to have been one the way up/ just one plume of smoke. Closer to the junction of Tioga Road and 120 there were visible flames and the surrounding air at times a mysterious greenish cast and other times this golden reddish cast. This was close to Yosemite Creek Campground. The NPS had highway 41 closed at 120 due to a new fire which had begun around 3:15 PM and is called the El Portal Fire and so could not get to 140 out so traveled out on 120, took the extension to Coulterville J20/ 132 then 49 over to Mariposa. Have done this once before – a route that is good to know. for backup plans such as this. Otherwise one needs to go over to 99, which is almost back to the Bay Area.
On this drive there were multiple fire crews traveling in and two trucks with bulldozers.
For fire information:
Summer is for Hiking: 4-Mile Trail from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, September 22, 2012.
The day before my Dad’s birthday and the day of the Autumnal Equinox did the 4-Mile trail from Glacier Point. This is so one could walk down rather than up! The trail meanders downwards with switchbacks so that one is always facing the valley. My only regret is that it was so late in the season and Yosemite Falls had dried up – would like to try again when the falls are in full force. But that regret is only a minor one – the trail is filled with gorgeous vistas.
Arranged car shuttles for trip back up to Glacier Point after reaching the valley floor. Arrived back at Glacier Point just in time to capture the sunset’s light on Half Dome and a little bit later the moon over the pines.
Summer is for Hiking: Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite National Park, September 8, 2012 (Tuolumne Meadows area)
A week after Glen Aulin visited the Cathedral Lakes during September 2012. This trail is in the Tuolumne area of Yosemite. Lovely to have had nice-looking clouds in the sky to mirror in the water. A very beautiful effect happens as the wind travels upon the water creating rich ripples into that sky mirror (the water) and I have posted just one or two of the photos which hold that effect. Many stop at the nearest bank to have lunch/snacks but if you walk around the lake you will get a magnificent view of Tenaya Lake. The trail can go either way around the lake – the photos included here are lined up as going around the Lower Lake to the right and then wrapping along the left bank on return. Discovered a marmot who posed for multiple photos before heading along to the upper lake. The upper lake is surrounded by solid rock and interspersion of trees. A cluster of tents indicating campers were along the far side of the upper lake. A thunderstorm began while there so scurried back down to get below the tree line. I have pasted some information below describing location and altitude of the area. The hike itself has a few climbs but overall not bad at all.
“The Cathedral Lakes are two lakes located In Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California. The lakes are situated 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of Cathedral Peak and 3.2 km (2 mi) east-northeast of Tenaya Lake. The lower lake is located at elevation 9,288 feet (2,831 m), while the upper lake is located at elevation 9,585 feet (2,922 m). The John Muir Trail is nearby, with a 7 miles (11 km) round trip hike of from the trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_Lakes
The trail to Cathedral Lake is part of the John Muir Trail,
Summer is for Hiking: Glen Aulin Trail, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Natl. Park, Ca. September 1, 2012
September 1, 2012 over Labor Day Weekend an impulsive but beautiful hiking choice. I should have had my hiking shoes this time as the trail has vertical cobblestones as one nears the falls. For some reason the hiking book in use had a distance of around 2 miles (a glaring typo) but by the time 2 miles was reached, definitely did not want to turn back. The hike to and from Toulomne Falls is more like 5 miles one way or more, depending on where you begin so 10-12 miles total. This hike has nearly everything you would wish for from cascades to the Tuolumne Falls and connectors to high mountain lakes (such as McGee Lake and more) and the High Sierra Camps. The trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and the mountains one walks alongside are 8000 plus feet high. Went to McGee Lake and High Sierra Camp Glen Aulin all in one day – a long hike! The trail is not clearly marked for the return along the huge slabs of rocks – noted many off the trail including myself. The trail runs along the boundary of the rock slabs and the forest (up) on the return.
On August 18 2012 drove to Florence Lake in the Sierra Nevada near Shaver Lake area, John Muir Wilderness, California. However there was a storm coming in with large amounts of lightning. I caught part of the storm as she was coming in but did not have time to hike around the lake before the storm drew close. This will happen on another visit. Here are views of the lake and surrounding mountains. It is very scenic and quiet; the road to get there at times allows only one vehicle. It appears the lake will be drained for one year http://www.florence-lake.com/
On July 21 of 2012 explored the Redwood Canyon Grove Trail. This is one of the largest groves of sequoias in existence and on this trail, one can view many of them. The trail is serene and quiet even in July. Another temperature win – in the central valley the temperature in the 100s on this particular day and here it was possibly 80 or less. The trail itself takes you through differing environments, from meadows to vistas, fern-laden areas with extremely large plants, and the wildflowers tremendous. It was hard to believe it was the dry part of summer. Green, moist and colorful surrounded by forest with the subtle mountain stream. The hike itself is not difficult and there are many segments to travel on.
This is a great day hike, the trail well-marked and the lake has multiple spaces for overnight camping. It was amazing the temperature change at the height of Weaver Lake – the air was crispy cool on a day that it was over 100 in the valley. One could also do an overnight loop and include Jennie Lakes as well (my next time project) . Weaver Lake is a secluded quiet alpine lake at the base of Shell Mountain. (a website which gives the overnight loop info and directions to arrive at the trailhead: http://www.everytrail.com/guide/jennie-and-weaver-lakes-loop/)
The trail is a bit difficult to see from the parking area but it is lined with rocks.
Everything is still very green and many wildflowers at the beginning of July.
Butterflies hovering and grouping near watery areas – must have been at least 100.
With summer over, I am finding the time to update on the various hikes from the season. A lot of time was spent in the mountains of Yosemite and Kings Canyon. This hike pictured here was into Nelder Grove, an area with original sequoias near Yosemite and near Ansel Adams Wilderness. We took the hike towards the Granddad tree and in June, there were many wildflowers. It is not a difficult hike – at the end one can go further on an adjoining trail but there are no designated markers.
Summer Is For Hiking
On June 16 2012, after stopping at the ranger’s station near Big Sur to inquire which trails were closed and after discovering Edwoldsen was still closed, and since Tanbark trail was recommended we got a late start (11:30 AM) up the trail.
The trailhead is on the land side of highway 1 across from Partington Cove. http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikemap.html
We first encountered a choice – to either hike on the right side of the creek or the left side. We selected the right side first but after scrambling through 2 rock slides and heavy brush determined to try out the left side of the creek.
Below is an image of one of the rock slides.
Instead select the trail to the left side of the creek.
This comes along with a clear sign designating the way.
Beautiful redwoods, clover, ferns dot the path along the creek transcending the hillsides. Little did we know that it would not remain as cool at the top as it was at the base – had we known we would have begun much earlier in the day with more water.
Above and below are sample images of the surrounding landscape.
Looking up there is indication of the 3.2 climb of 1400 feet which is attained through a variety of switchbacks through redwood forests and then later groves of what must be Tanbark Oaks. From what I have read, the tanbark oak is more like an evergreen beech tree.
The trail meanders upward through alternating full sun and shaded areas.
There are wildflowers at everyturn as we hit the full sun sections of the trail which are filled with nonaggressive bees. Many times the flowers spread into the trail. The variety of flowers is quite extensive.
Columbines also fill the hillsides. Here is one that was close to the trail.
Continuing upwards for awhile now. The trail back down will also be somewhat steep.
Along the upward journey, views of the ocean begin to appear.
With each view we felt we must be almost there…but not!
Below is a photo of what may be the Tanbark oaks. The bark has peeled off many of them.
At the top the view is outstanding – one can see forever, it seems.
We may have missed the actual Tin House. Some fellow hikers were up there as well and they also did not know where it was. We did locate a large pile of rusted tin on the ground and assumed this was it. Since returning – I looked online and see actual images of a house.
The coastline is breathtaking.
The ranger had spoken to us about this Connector trail – it leads to an overlook of Edwoldsen Canyon and then if you wish, you could hike down. He warned of downed trees.
So this image displays a grand view of the Connector trail. There is a sign that directs you to traverse to the left to journey on.
Up at the top one has multiple decisions to make. One can head down using the road and then walk a mile back to the Partington turnout. We opted not as walking on Highway 1 felt precarious and journeyed back down the way we came up.
The sun had shifted and we arrived at the base by 5 PM.
The lighting took on a mesmerizing quality and as we entered the redwoods once again, it is as if someone had turned on the AC.
These are some photographs taken in the late afternoon.
And here are some more.
And here is another.
Last weekend traveled over to King’s Canyon to finally see the Boole tree. I had been wanting to do this for awhile, especially after seeing jerry uelsmann’s photography relating to this sequoia- considered to be the largest in volume. At least I think I remember him using this tree and discussing it but cannot find this information online currently.
The trail is well-maintained traveling upward for awhile…we went to the left so encountered the panoramic views early on. Then the Boole tree emerges like an unexpected mythic giant.
This is a gorgeous and somewhat quiet section of Yosemite and even more so due to the inclement weather on this particular Saturday, July 30, 2011.
Water is everywhere due to the melting snow and the spring flowers are blooming. Small rivulets travel through meadows on their way to meet up with the larger rivers which may actually be oversized creeks – the area up here known as the Tuolomne watershed and sends water to hetch hetchy then sending it along to SF.
Due to the thunderstorms and rain along with the flooding out of parts of the trail, never made the walk around Elizabeth lake – could only view it from the distance shown here.
There are many trails up here in the High Sierras of Yosemite and cooler temperatures than in the valley. This particular hike is just north of the Tuolomne Meadows visitor center.