Probably the last trip to the Sierras for 2017 was a journey of many contrasts. It started in the remains of the fire ravaged forest left from the South Fork wildfire that burned around 7,000 acres east of Wawona and the Yosemite National Park during much of August. The Yosemite Valley was still very hazy from the smoke. Smokey conditions were even a problem at the temple during this period. Since this was the end of summer, the waterfalls were mere trickles from their robust nature seen earlier in the spring. Most of the snow on the mountains in the area had melted, but a few glaciers could be found in the High Sierra around and east of Tuolumne Meadows. On September 21, the last day of summer and the day after our trip through the area, Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows experienced their first snow. The road from Tuolumne meadows through Tioga Pass (elevation 9,945 feet) is not maintained during the winter months.
On the other side of the Tioga Pass, small Glaciers could be seen as shown above on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along with a waterfall coming from the impounded alpine lake above it. The Sierras then take a sharp descent to Lee Vining, California, and Mono Lake and its strange rock formations of tufa towers. Our journey continued down SR 395 to spend the night in Bishop, California, and the next day visit the Manzanar Relocation Center and Mt. Whitney, the highest summit (elevation 14,505 feet) in the contiguous states of the U.S.