Overnighted 5/13-14 on this peak south of hetch Hetchy (7,800+ ft). First made a brief stop at Hetch Hetchy, surprised that Tueeula Falls was already reduced to merely wet rock, Wampa was flowing well.
The trail was snow free going up the south side of this mountain until the last 100 yards, and surprisingly mosquitos were a non-factor above ~5,000ft. . Trail is a pretty steady climb to Cottonwood Creek/ Smith Meadow. Wildflowers were best the first couple of miles before entering forest that had burned not to long ago, but contained some fine pondersoa, sugar and jeffery pines, as well as incense cedar and silver fir. Above Smith Meadows the trail steepens and passes through a burn area that has a lot of downfalls across the trail, and a growth of prickly gooseberry brambles over open areas, the result is a lot of tree straddles and/ or detours through the brambles ( not a trail for shorts wearers). Still some nice snow patches on the upper north slopes of the summit, and that elevation, 7,500, ft seemed to be the start of coverage for most of the higher areas north exposures (about 9,000 ft seemed to start snow on south slopes).
The view from the top was very good of the north Yosemite area, plus the Cherry Creek granite and Emigrant Wilderness. Tower Peak and Mt. Conness stood out, Mt Hoffman was impressive from this vantage, the Clark Range clearly visible to the south.
Also impressive was the view of south wall grand canyon of the Toulumne below Colby Mountain. Clouded-up a bit about sunset, which rduced the alpenglow but made colorful sunset. A windy, noisy, mostly starry night. On returning the next morning spied a bear across Smith Meadow. A warmer day with a few more mosquitos.
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Its been awhile since I've seen a snow plant! Nice! Cool that you saw a bear. I'm going to try to get a Yose trip in this year, maybe just to hike some of the peaks.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison
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