Get ready for a ride of a lifetime.
We decided that the drive over the Tioga Pass/CA Rt. 120 from Lee Vining to Yosemite was too far for a day trip, so we made overnight reservations at a motel in Fish Camp. That turned out to be a very fortuitous plan.
The first glimpse of the grandeur to come is the wall of grey cliffs (above) that rose up ahead of us shortly after heading west out of Lee Vining. The next breathtaking moment is at what I think must be called Big Bend. There is a long incline leading up to a singular peak (below) on one side…
…and a gorge on the other. As you can see, the aspens were in full color.
The waterfalls are the Tioga River flowing out of Ellery Lake (below) and on to Mono Lake. The area around Ellery Like is especially colorful as the rocks here are metamorphic, in contrast to the granite that is pervasive along the whole route.
And here is the first dome of the day. The granite in this area was carved by glaciers and eroded in many places into these classic dome shapes that you see in and around Yosemite. This one is Lembert Dome, at the east end of Tuolumne Meadows. We stopped here at the recommendation of a ranger to take the Tuolumne Meadows hike.