Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mono Pass (Yosemite) Part 3

(GPS: N37 51.300 W119 12.465)

We got back on the trail and looked back at Summit Lake.

The goal now is just too see Mono Lake from up here. It is not too much further after you reach Mono Pass. We are talking maybe a 5-10 minute hike after Summit Lake. Follow this trail for a few minutes.
This is one of the lakes you see. This is Upper Sardine Lake.
Looking toward the east you can see Mono Lake. Coincidentally, you can see some of the South Tufa and where "Lago" was in High Plains Drifter.
The trail descends down here into Bloody Canyon. If you look closely you might see another lake which should be Lower Sardine Lake.
If you look toward the north you see Mt. Gibbs. Mt. Gibbs is a peak that is easy to climb, but not a high priority on my list. Nearby Dana is more interesting too me. Funny thing though, in a mathmatics 3rd grade text book there is a math problem that lists a bunch of Yosemite mountains (Dana, Matterhorn, Hoffman, and Gibbs) by elevation and it turns out that Mt. Gibbs was the answer to the math problem.
A couple of historical notes about this area:

1)I mentioned that the Native Americans used this trail for centuries, but it is thought that the first time Mono Lake was encountered by Euro-Americans was when Lt. Tredwell Moore and his scouts were pursuing members of Chief Tenaya's Miwok tribe down this canyon. The tribe members were supposed to be responsible for the killing of three prospectors in Yosemite. In any case, the above views are what they would have had looking down the canyon and seeing Mono Lake. From then on the area was the main trail for coming and going from the east into the Yosemite region until Tioga Pass came about. Most books about Yosemite or this area talk about this, but here are two other links to look over:

Prospectors & Pioneers (Official Mono Lake Site)

Yosemite Nature Notes (1978)

2)No one really knows why they call the canyon below "Bloody Canyon." One story is that in taking up mules or horses up and down the trail the rocky steepness caused the animals to bleed a lot. Then you could see all the blood on the rocks. Some of these animals died here too.

3)This is just a fun folklore tidbit that I and others have found funny in the past. In the book Mono Diggings by Frank Wedertz he mentions someone called "The Wildman of Bloody Canyon." Supposedly, this man in 1882 and in 1883 showed up in Bodie heavily armed and with a fistful of dollars. He rarely spoke and was sort of a mystery man. It was later revealed in the newspaper that he was Tom Fitzsimmons. He had come to Bodie to work as a miner, but left after his sister died in 1869 and became a hermit in Bloody Canyon. He wore a bearskin (from a bear he supposedly had killed), had buckskin pants, and a fur hat. Wedertz wrote that the Bad Men of Bodie were frightened of this individual and left him alone. I always get a kick out of a historical guy like this knowing Clint Eastwood's film was made nearby; Also, a lot of westerns have used the image of a guy going into town and everone watching from behind their windows or from a safe distance.

The video:

Mono Pass (Youtube Version)

Mono Pass (Vimeo Version)

One thing I did not mention is that after this hike we drove to eat. I was happy I had gotten the new video footage. I tried using the video camera again, and my flashcard came up as an error! I could not access my card! I was seriously demoralized. I regrouped by getting a new card, but left my card with the Mono Pass hike alone. I had hoped that when I got home there would be something online that would recover at least some of it. I had to wait a week and when I got home was able to recover most of the card. There were some defects in the video. So, the videos you see of this hike were the best I could do with what remained. There were some things left out that were lost, but what you see pretty much represented what happened. This was one of the many epic problems I had during my visit in August.