There and Back Again

2 August 2022
Ruby Lake to Fourth Recess Lake to Trail Lakes
(8 miles, +2,200/-2,100 feet).

It was cold and damp last night. But that wasn’t the worst thing.

Half Cookie’s sleeping pad started deflating early on and I volunteered to give her mine because cold affects her a lot more than it does me. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been — the deflated pad kept me dry. But we were on pretty stiff and slopey terain becuase of the rain, so there was a lot of turning to get comfortable and I didn’t really fall asleep until 4am or so. Oh well.

This morning I was eager to move on, possibly to find a site with some duff for tonight to make things better. Our goal was Fourth Recess Lake where I hoped we could find a place to relax and maybe do a day hike.

Ruby Lake
Morning light
Granite buckwheat
Wicker buckwheat
Mountain coyote mint

From Ruby Lake, I talked everyone into a short cross-country segment to get back to the Mono Pass trail without going all the way back down to the junction. It was fun!

Easy peasey
Frosted buckwheat
Alpine sorrel
More frosted buckwheat!
Finally starting to wake up!
Rockfringe willowherb

Mono Pass was spectacular! A barren moonscape with the occasional flower clinging to pebbles.

Looking back on the approach to Mono Pass
Sierra columbine
Half Cookie catches up
Pacific hulsea
Mono Pass

After the pass I dropped into the valley floor to look around for flowers.

Treasure hunt
Broom snakeweed
Guppy and Half Cookie above
Western wallflower

But the best was yet to come. Summit Lake was SPECTACULAR! I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

Summit Lake
A little closer
Half Cookie and Guppy get their first view of the lake
Cushion buckwheat
Double Down dip
Dwarf phlox
Nuttall’s sandwort

After a nice long break at the lake we moved on.

Last look
Sargent’s catchfly
Tolmie’s saxifrage
Davidson’s penstemon
Neogagates ant on a Gordon’s mousetail
Sierra Penstemon
Neele Lake and Mono Pass Peak
Dwarf alpine Indian paintbrush
Sticky cinquefoil
Trail Lake
Lemmon’s Indian paontbrush
Nuttall’s linanthus
Club moss ivesia
Tundra aster
Guppy down for the count
Little elephant’s head
Crossing Mono Creek
This way!
Brewer’s lupine
Fourth Recess Lake

We arrived at our intended campsite around noon, which seemed way too early to stop hiking. It would have been fine if it was a comfortable place to hang out, but it was quite buggy and it looked like rain was once again on its way. We decided to backtrack and look for a less buggy site.

Heading back!

We actually hiked all the way back to Trail Lake.

Trail Lake

And once again IT POURED!

And once again Half Cookie and I put our tent in the wrong place. The flood was even worse this time, with water coming up in the tent everywhere. We had to sit on our one good sleeping pad huddled together for two hours with all our things like we were clinging for life to a raft in the middle of the ocean.


The rain finally lessened enough for us to move our tent to a slopey pebble field that would drain. And by sunset the clouds broke enough for a pretty sunset.


But we are exhausted.

And it’s pebbles for my mattress. Again!

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