Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake, Sunday 9/5/10

Tenaya Lake, on the way to Tuolumne Meadows

If you look closely at this rock (just past Tenaya Lake), you'll see climbers roped to it

Rock formations springing up from Tuolumne Meadows (elevation +8,000 ft)

Tuolumne River flowing through the meadows

Chris is an island unto himself

Where I go, Big Pavelski t-shirt goes too (and occasionally a backwards Yankees cap)


Randomly located large boulder

Chris found a way up it without getting wet (or hurting himself - you should have seen his dismount)

Just outside the park's boundaries, in Mono County, the scenery doesn't stop

Our first view of Mono Lake, 17 miles from Tuolumne Meadows

Mono Lake's visitor center in the town of Lee Vining

I've never been east of the Sierra Nevadas while still being in California

Ahhh... but notice the throngs of people; a bus of 80 Chinese tourists arrived when we did

So we took the off-road to have the shoreline to ourselves

Tufa spires and the Sierra Nevada range

"Tufa, whatz up?"

I already knew I liked this place

If we had any forethought, we could have hired a kayak (it happened to be the very last day of the kayak season, and it was sold out)

Billy found a spring that brought water from underground directly into the lake

The spires at South Tufa are really cool

Even the, um, phallic ones

Offshore, tufa islands abound

He couldn't resist

Nor could Chris resist disobeying the signs saying "Don't climb the tufa" (Chris later pointed out that the tufa was incredibly brittle)

We then walked to the part of the shore where all the tourists congregated, and we saw why they were led there

So, in short, Mono Lake is one of the neatest places in California

Time for lunch at Bodie Mike's in Lee Vining

Back at the Yosemite entrance, we spot a desperate hitchhiker... I know how he feels

The east entrance is on the very high (but pretty gentle) Tioga Pass, which is closed most of the year

Time for a hike - to Lembert Dome

Thar she blows

It's a Billy-in-a-Tree!

On the lower slopes of Lembert Dome

Looking towards the highest point of the Dome, which was actually in the "middle" of the rock

You could easily walk along the granite slope, and yet we were glad for our grippy shoes (none of us believe in "hiking boots" - our sneakers were more than ideal)

Yeah, baby

Billy is king of the mountain (not quite sure if this is the actual summit, however)

From the highest point, I could look down on the more prominent part of the Dome... we decided it wasn't worth the extra walk, since Lembert directly overlooks a massive parking lot

The Brothers Johnston

I pulled a muscle striking this pose

Billy and I went down one way, and Chris went down another; I took this photo looking back up the Dome while waiting for the rendez-vous (which was quick - Chris beat us by ten minutes back to the car)

To finish our weekend, we cooked amazing and unusual hamburgers. Chris was inspired by my onion-embedded burger, and decided to one-up me by throwing in a leftover onion ring from our lunch. His verdict = the raw onion wins. As a token of his appreciation, he bestowed upon me the title, "Hamburger Savant"

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