My 70th birthday trip over Mono Pass and down Mono Creek: part 1

Sometime during the last year, I decided to celebrate my 70th birthday with a trans-Sierra hike. I am not sure how, or why, I came up with this scheme, but I did. Now we are back and I am whooped, but I am still glad I came up with the idea. It did turn out to be more logistically difficult and a harder hike, for me, than I originally expected.

Part of the difficulty was that the leaving and arriving trailheads are six to seven hours apart and part of it was that, after going over the pass, the runout on the westside – for me – was still a three day walk. I am still pretty stiff and sore. But, and it is a huge BUT, the trip was very worth it.

When we Googled the fastest way from ,the west trailhead to the east trailhead, Google took us through Yosemite Valley. That just didn't seem right. Through Yosemite Valley on a Saturday, on a free weekend – that just couldn't be the fastest way. When we finally got past the denial stage to the grief stage, we knew we were in trouble. But, when we got to the tunnel view at sunset, we pretty much felt we had lucked out. 

This was the place, after all, immortalized by Ansel Adams.

Tunnel view ansel 

When we got there, the other lucky tourists were all, in the perfect light, taking pictures.


When, Ansel took his picture, he must have waited hours for the right light. Standing there with a huge 8×10 camera on a sturdy tripod, a light-proof cloth over his head. We just blew through. Drove up, walked to the edge, stuck the camera in roughly the right direction, and then got back into the car and drove away. It seems both slightly cheap in the ease and liberating at the same time. The digital age is a whole new photographic ballgame. So to speak.



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 There were five of us on the trip and I started early, Monday, morning, walking the first part of the trial with a friend and, then, alone.


The trail is gorgeous, leaving Mosquito Flat and slowly working up towards the pass. As we walked, we spread out along the trial and then gathered for lunch just before the final push towards the pass.


To get an idea of the scale of the area, double click on the pic below. The small dots are members of our group.



I say final push, I think for everybody else it was a stroll and , for me, it was slow but not that hard. After the pass, we started down – duh! – and met up again at the very high, very barren,  Summit Lake.


From there we dropped into the Mono Creek drainage. The canyon, or valley – certainly not a canyón – opened up below us. Continued here.  

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