Aug 3, 2000
Clouds in the morning, portending a no-go for the Mt. Dana ascent. Mike spends some time with the view camera in a grove of red firs, then heads up to Tioga Pass to reconnoiter. He walks a short ways up the Mt. Dana trail with his tripod & Mamiya, and, truth be told, if he had had his day pack on, he might have continued. Instead, he heads back to the car and descends through Lee Vining Canyon to the Mono Basin. At the Mono Lake Visitors Center he glances back at the mountains: the sky is a deep black. As he travels back up the canyon rain starts to fall, obscuring the view. And finally, at Olmstead Point, it really lets loose, bolts of lightning striking round and about and a steady downpour pounding on the granite. Two inches of hail fall in Tuolumne Meadows and one of the slopes near Tioga Pass cascades onto the road, temporarily closing the road. Mike is glad he's not up on Mt. Dana! Back at camp, all seems fairly serene: just a few drops of rain on the tent fly. A most unusual August day in the Sierra.
Photo: Lightning over Tenaya Lake—Sierra Nevada, 2000