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Eastern Sierra Fall 2010

Day 4 of 4

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Monday, October 11th
Rock Creek Road, Tenaya Lake, drive home

The weather forecast called for 30% chance of isolated thundershowers starting at 1pm today. But it was sunny and clear when we woke up to what sounded like an air raid siren. There are emergency sirens in Bishop that apparently blare whenever they go out for a rescue operation. So I'm guessing that's what it was.

We wouldn't be doing any hiking today, but I still wanted to see some more colors if we could. I checked the web sites again, but nothing much looked promising. Eventually I decided to just drive along Rock Creek Road and see whatever was there. We left at 9:30am, then drove up Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat. Along the way we saw a wide range of colors, from mostly green near the bottom to mostly bare near the top. There were a few pockets of yellows and orange, but nothing spectacular.

At Mosquito Flat itself, there weren't any colors. There was Rock Creek, however, and patches of snow. There were several cars here already -- some photographers and some hikers heading up into Little Lakes Valley. I took a few pictures before we headed back down the road. I stopped just above Rock Creek Lake, where I took some pictures of the aspens near the campground reflecting in the lake.

Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat

Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat

Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat

Rock Creek Lake

We then drove back down to Highway 395, then north to Tioga Road. I debated over whether to cross via Highway 120 or 108, eventually deciding it would be nicer to stop at Tenaya Lake for lunch, and crossing the Sierra sooner rather than later was better.

We made a brief stop at the Tioga Gas Mart before continuing on up toward Tioga Pass. Along the way we passed Ellery Lake, which looked shockingly shallow. It looked like they'd drained it almost completely, for what purpose I don't know. Nearby upstream Tioga Lake, on the other hand, looked full.

We entered Yosemite at Tioga Pass, and saw a beautiful thin blanket of snow in the area, much like the area at Sonora Pass. We left the snow behind quickly as we descended to Tuolumne Meadows. The campground was closed, as was the grill and store. There were, however, still a lot of cars parked at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead.

We continued to Tenaya Lake, where we parked at the picnic area on the eastern end of the lake. This was new to me, as I'd only ever parked at the northern day use area for the lake. The one at the eastern end is probably nicer if you're just going to have lunch, while the one on the northern end is probably nicer for walking around through the forest.

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake

Tree on beach at Tenaya Lake

The picnic area has several picnic tables nestled in the trees, right on the edge of a wide sandy beach. It did not feel like October at all as we sat down to have lunch on the beach in what must have been close to 70 degree weather.

After lunch, we drove back home, in time to watch the Giants finish off the Braves in the NLDS.


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