After getting a good introduction to the Saddlebag Lake area, the next step seemed to be a trip across the street to Mt. Dana. A quick glance at Secor's book revealed a straightforward Class-1 scramble of 2.5 miles and some serious vertical. Give yourself at least six hours for the loop, and remember your turn-around time!
to Dana, an "unofficial" trail, begans at the Tioga Pass entrance to
Yosemite. It's a congested area, but the avalanche-scarred slopes and
the alpine beauty of Dana Meadows contrasts with the RV-coated
pavement. By careful to stay east of the imaginary line created by
the park boundary, though, or the rangers will yell at you.
Since it's only
a "use" path, there are a few variations to the route. Choosing this
one made life a little more challenging, but crawling rock-to-rock at
the edge of a precipitous drop was wonderful. A light and
surprisingly warm breeze out of the Mono Basin helped enhance the
A marmot of unusual size (as determined by unanimous vote
of the folks on the summit) spends the better part of an hour staring
at us and posing for photos.
A very nice
trail that's not a "trail." Reading Forest and Crag, I learned
about early-20th-century divide between those who favored graded
recreational paths and those who advocated only basic access to
"interesting" terrain. The treadway-graders were sent west in the
end, but this route proves there are still plenty of ways out here to
enjoy the bones of the mountain without striking out
rather chubby marmot shares the wonderful view back toward Tioga Pass
along the final steps to the summit. Saddlebag Lake, site of many a
summer skiing adventure, can be seen nestled in the mountains behind
ski descent to be explored later.
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