My 70th birthday trip over Mono Pass and down Mono Creek and out

When we first started out trip, it was all possibility. Everybody we talked to, who had been there had a suggestion on where to go, and they all sounded great. I talked to a guy at Vermilion Resort and he said Laural Canyon is great. A guy at the Rock Creek Pack Station said Hopkins was gorgeous. We can't miss Second Recess, almost nobody goes there because it is in the middle but it is supposed to be spectacular. In the end, we missed them all.

On Thursday morning, we calculated that we had somewhere between twelve and fourteen miles to get out and three days to do it. Over breakfast, we made a plan to hike about half way out on Thursday , explore on Friday, and hike out the remainder on Saturday. Our only fixed point was to catch a ferry across Lake Thomas A Edison at 4:45 on Saturday. It seemed pretty easy. Even when we put our packs on, for the first time in three days, it seemed easy.

 But we got a late start, the trial was rougher and more interesting than we had expected, and we found lots of reasons to stop and photograph. It was starting to get dark when we made camp.





That night, we revised our plans. Getting into the Second Recess or Laural Canyon seemed like more work than we wanted to do: Second Recess required crossing Mono Creek which had become quite large and Laural required a steep 500 plus foot climb before we would start hiking it. And it had become painfully obvious that we were not going to be making any early starts.

We revised our plan to making two very easy days with lots of stops and a late start rather than two ball-buster days with a chance of missing the ferry on Saturday. So, the next morning, we got got right to lazing around with lots of grooming time.


We got to the John Muir Trail, a virtual highway at rush hour, in time to watch the sunset of Mono Creek. We were only three and a half miles from the ferry. The next morning, we got up, wandered around taking pictures, and then eased our way into the traffic towards Lake Thomas A Edison. Even with a couple of long stops, it came up much quicker than we expected. We were back in civilization, or – at least – what passes for civilization at 8,000 feet.

We even found somebody to take our picture.


We were – mostly – happy campers.





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