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Eastern Sierra Trip

Day 1 of 5

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Friday, June 18th
Drive to Mammoth Lakes via Tuolumne Meadows

We'd planned to go to Bishop as far back as 2001 but, for one reason or another, never made it. I'd never really been to the eastern Sierra, other than a drive-through on the way to Mt. Whitney in 1999. Finally, 5 years later, we made the trip to the other side of the mountains.

Friday morning a bit after 10am, we left the Bay Area. Traffic was light, but it's a long drive anyway. We stopped for lunch somewhere along the road, then stopped again at Tuolumne Meadows. This was by far the earliest in the year that I had visited Tuolumne Meadows (the previous earliest being the end of July). However, there wasn't much snow compared to my previous visits. Either the snowfall wasn't as great, or it melted away much faster or earlier (or a combination of the two).

Tuolumne Meadows

The drive down from Tioga Pass toward Highway 395 is beautiful. I stopped at a large turnout with a plaque -- something to do with the civil engineering required to make the road, I think. I didn't stop for the plaque, though -- I stopped for the tremendous views of the mountains to the east, with water falling down the slopes into a green valley below. After taking some photographs, we continued on down the road.

Mountains east of Tioga Pass

The road east of Tioga Pass

It took about 5 hours, 15 minutes of driving to go from the Bay Area to Mammoth Lakes. In the winter, tack on another hour or more, since Tioga Pass road is closed during winter and you'll probably have to go via Reno.

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