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With my feet smarting badly from the previous day's beating, I needed to take it easy today. A rest would probably have been better for them, but they'd have had to compete with the boredom I would likely experience if I spent the day sitting around with so much beautiful wilderness to explore. So I picked a non-descript peak between Mono and Parker passes in the high country of Yosemite south of Tioga Pass, one of the few named peaks in the area I had yet to climb.
The hike out of the Mono Pass TH is through a very pretty alpine area. The first hour is through woods on the edge of treeline which soon give way to the open meadows where marmots and pikas are in abundance. At Mono Pass, a short distance south of the trail are some old dilapidated log cabins, more than a hundred years old going back to the mining days of this area. Just southeast of these rises Mt. Lewis, and I used this to start the long climb up the NW Ridge. There is a good deal of talus and false summits and in hindsight it wasn't the easiest way to reach the summit (my descent route was much better), but it worked. After about three hours I had reached the 12,500-foot summit of Mt. Lewis. I'd been wondering about the peak's name on the way up, and in answer I found an old monument to one W.B. Lewis, the Yosemite superintendent from 1916 to 1927. An old pair of binoculars was also found there, still in working order, but well-worn from many seasons up at the summit.
The summit provided a fine view of Mono Lake to the NE, June Lake and the surrounding area to the SE; Parker, Koip, and Kuna peaks to the southwest; Gibbs and Dana to the north. On my return I found a low-angle drainage off to the west that made for an easy descent back to the Parker Pass Trail. Intercepting this I then returned back via Mono Pass. There were many more hikers out by this time, and like me they seemed to be out to enjoy the plentiful wildflowers found throughout the area. I got back to the car around 1p, a six and half hour effort - just enough to keep my feet from starting to complain again. Off I went down the east side of Tioga Pass, heading for the motels of Lee Vining and a fine meal at the Whoa Nellie...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Lewis
This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:05:07 2007
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