How can you complain about being “stuck” in Yosemite? Ya can’t… But you can be eager to leave. We had toured around and saw most of the touristy things, I had biked around most of the valley, and Cate painted like the crazed artist she is! We really wanted to drive the beautiful Tioga Pass Rd (120).
Apparently when the remnants of the typhoon hit the California high country it knocked 10 boulders off the mountain too large for conventional removal. I stumbled across this video below which pretty much says it all (along with the cheesy production value). go CalTran! After a few days the pass was reopened.
The night before we left, we emerged from the woods and found a hot tub at a nearby resort…. Just the ticket after our hiking day at the Tuolumne grove of giant sequoias.
Traveling over Highway 120 and the Tioga pass was gorgeous! Unbelievable vistas, snow etc. According to the NPS, driving the Tioga pass is akin to traveling from the Arctic to Mexico…climate wise.
After a lot of oohs and awes (nice one eh?), we descended down to Lee Vining and Mono Lake. Mono is pronounced Moe-Noe BTW. Mono has these things called Tufas. They are solidified formations of limestone made in a lake with three times the salinity of the Pacific. Now I could go on and on about the geologic background here… But suffice to say, and for the sake of being brief, I’ll just say … Google is your friend. The South Tufas are also where the inside cover for Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ album was shot. Anyways….. We found a site to camp in the sage scrub and at night listened to the coyotes cry from less than a few dozen yards away.
We just had to go to the ghost town of Bodie. Once a thriving mining town of 10,000 and one of the rowdiest in the west, it was abandoned in the 1940s. It is held in a state of arrested decay by the California State Parks.
We made a side trip on the way back to Lundy Canyon, but at the overlook on the way we say a familiar site…
This being a seriously volcanic region it was decided to seek out a hot spring. The one we found was Wild Willy’s and apparently it lived up to it’s name in the 70’s. The drive was as easy as the scenery was impressive. Nearby was Mammoth mountain…yet another world class ski hill I visited during the wrong time of year😩.
While we were in the ‘hood, we dropped by Hot Creek Geological site…a mini Yellowstone if you will.
We also visited June lake, with June Lake Brewing…. Wonderful place, nice folks. Within easy view of our campsite was a place called Panum Crater. Panum Crater is a part of the youngest mountain range in North America. Without getting too geeky, let’s just say an eruption happened 600 years ago, threw some pumice in a ring around the “volcano hole” and then the magma kept oozing upward creating a plug….. And best of all, there was a high silica content and therefor the plug contains a great deal of obsidian! Unreal?! Right? Also There was a story about obsidian in the news the other day… If you are curious check it out! CNN Obsidian Scalpel Story (link)
Alas, after a few days it was time to move on. We have mail waiting on us at Furnace Creek, Death Valley. Seems like, though, we have been sidetracked by the Alabama Hills and Mount Whitney. We may have procured the most epic campsite ever…Here is a sneak peek! ( yes that is a rainbow at sunrise!)
New update soon! I’m working as hard as I can
As you can see!