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Aug '11 Sierra Hikes
by mkirrene
United States California Sonora Pass, Tioga Pass and Onion Valley
Adventure Views 368 Views
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My Adventure Story

I had four great hikes over the course of three days.

The first was to Burst Rock and lake Powell off of the Sonora Pass road up a long rough side road (half paved and half gravel).  Huge vistas overlooking massive granite formations.  Hard to believe that this was an immigrant trail for Conestoga wagons back in the mid 1800s.  Easy to see why this trail did not last long.  I got a late start from El Cerrito so it was pretty late before getting back on the road and I did not get to Lee Vining until almost 9:00pm.

The second hike was the loop trail at Saddlebag lake in the 20 Lakes basin just before the Yosemite East gate on Tioga Pass road.  Taking the water shuttle lopes off 3 miles from what would have been a 9 - 10 mile hike.  Some snow field traverses, huge in-your-face peaks and lakes - spectacular.  Popular and lots of mosquitoes.

The third hike was a very steep 800 foot climb to a ridge overlooking the Gaylor lakes just inside the Yosemite East gate on the North side of Tioga pass road.  After gaining the crest only to discover a big descent to the lakes' which descent would have to be regained before going back down the original climb to the trail head, and since I had already done the Saddle bags hike in the morning, I decided to take a few pictures and get back to the car before driving on to Monmouth Lakes where I spent the night.

The fourth hike was at the end of the Onion Valley Rd going west out of Independence.  What a climb for the Prius from 4000 to the 9200 ft trail head in 13 miles.  Then another couple thousand feet by foot to Big Pothole Lake where I had lunch gazing at the final climb to the Kearsarge Pass crest, which I decided to not ascend so as get on the road home before it got too late.  While this hike had an impressive vertical gain, the trail had a consistent grade and was pretty easy going.  Lots of waterfalls, high peaks and long views down to Independence and the mountains across on the East side of Owens valley.
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