Into the Monsoon

1 August 2022
Mosquito Flat Trailhead to Ruby Lake
(2 miles, + 1,000/-0 feet).

This is the first trip Half Cookie and I planned with Double Down and Guppy. And boy did we pick a good date to start!

We were originally supposed to drive up from San Diego to do a hike out of Cottonwood Lakes, but when we arrived at the base of the switchbacks on Horseshoe Meadow Road we found the road closed. A highway worker there told us that the monsoon rains they just had were some of the worst they have seen in a long time, and they expected the road to be closed for three days.

Three days!?! Time for Plan B.

We headed over to the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center to try to get a permit for a different trip nearby. And they told us that the roads to Whitney Portal and Onion Valley were also closed. Wow! That’s a lot of rain.

It took a while to figure out an alternative plan because the Visitor Center cannot issue permits directly. You have to reserve online first. And here’s the catch: there’s no wifi or cell service inside the visitor center! Instead we had to go out into the parking lot in the blazing sun to squint at our cell phone screens to see what was available and to try to make a reservation.

After some discussion we settled on a trip over Mono Pass, which was almost 2 hours more of driving, but it seemed to be our best choice.

And as we drove north, the skies got darker and darker. Clouds lowered almost to the Owens Valley floor, obscuring the grand range to the west. By the time we reached the trailhead it had already started to rain.

Really? We are going to hike in this?
Into the Wilderness
Rock Creek
Looking up Little Lakes Valley
A rain-soaked Nuttall’s Linanthus
Half Cookie takes a break
Singlehead Goldenbush

It was a soggy but short climb up to Ruby Lake, where there was a brief break in the weather. But the sky continued to get darker, so we decided to set up the tents and wait it out.

Dark skies over Ruby Lake
Double Down battens down the hatches

It really opened up for a couple of hours. Rain actually started coming in from the bottom of our tent! So much for our nice flat spot.

We managed to keep everything inside the tent on top of our pads until it calmed down a little, and then we quickly moved the whole set up to a nearby site with more slope.

Half Cookie sets up the tent (again!)

It rained a bit more, but we got another break around 6pm. Double Down, Guppy, and I went in search of a spring to collect water on the eastern part of the lake.

No rain for the moment
Delicious spring water!
Guppy enjoying the adventure…
…and then trying to stay warm!

We returned to camp and managed to scarf down some dinner before it started raining yet again. Sigh. Hopefully it won’t be so bad tomorrow.

One Comment Add yours

  1. David Renas says:

    Thanks for the blog! Really nice to re-live that day

    Liked by 1 person

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