Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oops! The Passes are Closed! (and Rock Creek)

Having checked the Caltrans site last night I knew the passes were closed; still it was fun to see the snow on the mountains surrounding Lee Vining and the highway sign Sunday morning.

Town was crackling with energy from the unexpected snow and crispy air when I walked down to the local coffee shop.


The cold temps wilted a few flowers in the backyard, but not the sunflowers along the front side walk.

Then it was back to my favorite Vista Point to check out the snow over Tioga Pass and decide on a plan for the day.

For several years I have been hoping for a chance to drive south on 395 after a new snow, so the decision was easy.  Besides, web reports were that aspen color was peaking at Rock Creek.

Just north of the June lake loop the two derelict houses were very cool against the snow capped mountains.

There wasn't much color yet around Silver Lake (it won't be long!).  Folks were fishing in shorts and flip flops; while the rest of us were bundled up around Gull Lake.

A Forest Service employee was working outside at the station just past Tom's Place;  he assured me the road was clear and dry all the way up to the top on Rock Creek Canyon, and yes, the trees were gorgeous!

Many people were hiking up the trail from the Mosquito Flat despite snow on the trail!  And, of course, there were lots of back packers who were caught by the mis-forecast storm.   I stopped in the overflow parking and hiked aways along the creek.

A month or so ago when I camped in the canyon I did not explore the lake, so I was really looking forward to it.  The access road to the day use and campgrounds is on the far side; a trail skirts all the way around.

It's mostly day use here (with a few campsites) along this shore......

So many, many beautiful trees,  I'll leave you with this one along one of the trails.

(Note to camping friends:  There are several hundred campsites along this canyon; the best are in Big Meadow along the creek and Iris Meadow in the aspens.  Other campgrounds are very rocky and tight and probably pretty hot in the summer.  No boondocking.).

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