Last weekend, the first one with an open Tioga Pass of the season, we did a quickie overnighter to Bishop. David is recovering from a sprained ankle so instead of hiking we did a bit of fishing, bouldering, nomming on Whoa Nellie goodies, and hot springing.
Our trip took us to Ellery Lake where we fished the outlet. We saw tons of fish but they weren’t interested in anything we were throwing at them. David caught one guy who would end up being a decent dinner appetizer. From there we timed our lunch stop for fish tacos at Whoa Nellie, then headed down to Rock Creek. The road is clear all the way to the Mosquito Flat Trailhead, remarkably dry for early May.
We fished the creek and wandered up to the first couple of lakes. While snow still dominated the slopes of the peaks to the west, there was barely any in our immediate vicinity at 10,500 ft. Absolutely insanely dry. On the bright side, mosquito season should be long gone by the time we head out on our annual August backpack.
For camp, we found a nice spot out Casa Diablo Road north of Bishop. It was quite hot out but cooled nicely overnight. In the morning we headed straight to the Sad Boulders where we saw some colorful lizards and got in a little bit of bouldering. My hands are calloused by indoor gym holds, and the real rock hurt so much, ouch! But it’s still a lot of fun.
On our way back north we hit one of our favorite hot springs and went for a second lunch at Whoa Nellie (lobster taquitos this time). Back over the pass, we decided to fish Tioga Lake and it was here where David had the best luck. We ended up bringing home four holdover stockers from last summer, so dinner was covered for a couple of nights!
Conditions are changing rapidly up there as the snow melts out. While almost all trailheads are accessible now, remember that the higher terrain still has a fair amount of snow. If you’ll be venturing out make sure to get recent condition reports and be prepared for spring conditions – it’s not summer *quite* yet.