By: Eivor Nilsson, Ron Young
We had our group of nine meet at the Ranger Station in Mineral King for the pre-hike briefing, required when the group size is five or more. It was a clear morning and the climb to lower Franklin Lake afforded views throughout the lush, green Mineral King Valley. The WTC Group that preceded us had the best camp sites nearer to the lake so we had to scatter our troops along the ledges by the higher food box. Clouds formed quickly and by dinner time we were encircled by an uncomfortably cool mist scudding upward toward the pass. The previous day I had day-hiked Vandever Mountain and scurried off the summit shortly after 11:00 A,M. amid swirling clouds and increasing wind. Rob Talbert, leader of the WTC group, was approaching the summit as I hurried off. Although a little later this day, the same weather conditions were occurring with enormous thunderheads over the Big Arroyo. The unseasonable coolness allowed the air to hold more moisture and in spite of the threatening skies there was no rain or thunder.
Sunday morning dawned clear with a brisk, cold wind. Six of the group headed up the fine trail to Franklin Pass where we enjoyed the views before heading over to the slopes of Florence Peak. .We angled slightly left of the main ridge to avoid some lingering snow and the large boulders. As we scouted a route among the boulders 'we met the WTC group descending near the summit. By now the wind was calm and we enj eyed a pleasant stay on top. We left the summit at 11:00 A,M, and were back in camp by .1:00. By 2:00 we were on the trail down with all arriving before 5:00. The summit group, besides the two leaders, included: Kathy Cecere, Edna Erspamer, Andy Zdon and Rod Ziebol. We were pleased to find no marmot damage to our vehicles, although members of our group saw someone submitting a marmot damage report at the Ranger Station, and Andy reported a bear in the Atwell Mill campground Friday night. This was a congenial group and a pleasant outing. --Ron Young
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