July 12, 2008 – Carson Pass
California Road Trip and Family GTG
Day 7. We had fun filled three days together with the family. Good times were had around the campfire. We also spent some time at the Buckeye Hot Spring. Black mud, hot water but lots of fun for the family.
We decided to drive back ourselves so we could stop and do a quick hike. I thought at first that it would be good to go back over Sonora Pass which was closest but after reading my hiking book, it said that the Pacific Crest Trail at Carson Pass – Hwy 88 – had the best wildflowers. Sold.
We stopped in Bridgeport and had breakfast at the Hays Street Cafe. Wonderful. G had an omelett and I had the usual eggs and hashbrowns.
We headed north back up Hwy 395 and turned off at the turn off to Monitor Pass. On the Eastern slope of the Sierras, it is a steep climb up rising often 4,000-5,000 feet in a few miles to the crest of the pass. Our little Honda Civic Hybrid did its best but I ended up having to shift down to second to climb to the top. The views were stunning back over the great basin.
Once over the top, we traveled through Markleville before turning on to Hwy 88 and back to the top of Carson Pass at 8,573-foot. We pulled off to the Meiss parking lot on the north side and pulled out our parking pass.
The flowers started immediately. There were also lovely craggy junipers (Juniperus occidentalis) among the boulders. Dust was everywhere. We meandered along to a stream where G was able to find some yellow penstemon. A bit farther, a stunning Monument plant. Here is another bit about the flora of the trail.
The clouds were gathering and the sky darkened. We expected thunder at any minute so we turned back. It was a quick trip down to the blistering heat of Stockton. We arrived just minutes after our parents.
Here are some more pictures.
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