Checking out Sonora Pass on June 1st



Despite being in the middle of packing, purging and prepping our beloved Mi Wuk home for sale later this year, Russ and I took our annual Sonora pass trek, checking out several things:  the snow depth at the top and the destruction rendered by the Donnell Fire that started on August 1, 2018.  The latter took my breath away.  🙁

I knew that thunderstorms were in the forecast so we watched, with interest, as the blue skies, full of ‘cumulus puffies’, turned darker and grayer and blacker throughout the midday.

Beyond Strawberry, on Hwy 108, heading toward Sonora Pass.
Just after the Donnell Overlook site (gate was closed) on Hwy 108 heading toward Sonora Pass
Approaching the site of Dardanelle Resort. Hwy 108.
Incredibly stark reality of the devastation surrounding the Dardanelle Resort. Hwy 108.
Burnt forest just beyond Dardanelle Resort, way before Kennedy Meadows.
Beyond Kennedy Meadows on the climb up to Sonora Pass. The Aspen trees left and right of the highway are my favorite autumn sight when driving in the area.
Check out the stretches of avalanche run areas.
Approaching the 9,000 ft. elevation marker.
Clouds are darkening and snow is piling up along the road roadside.
I love seeing the road closure gate mashed into the wall of snow. The summit is just around the bend.
9,624 feet elevation…..the beautiful Sonora Pass around 12.30 p.m., Saturday, June 1, 2019.
Looking back toward Sonora.
The Klipple’s, staring into the very bright sun!
We love the Preserve America sign at the Summit, welcoming travelers into Tuolumne County.
People have had fun since the pass opened, carving messages into the berm.
A very large group of snow mobilers took over a parking area designed just for them. The proud American flag caught our attention.
Lunch stop. Check out those blackening clouds in the background.
Beautiful view just below the 9000′ line–where people often climb up up up to ski or snowboard down the mountain.
Last turn/pull out before going through the Kennedy Meadows boulder gateway.
Your snow removal equipment at rest, opposite the entrance to Kennedy Meadows.
Just in case you’re considering hi-jacking a LARGE piece of snow removal equipment, be notified that it comes with a GPS Tracking Device! My husband noticed that sticker. 🙂
Site of the historic original Dardanelle Bridge that was, sadly, destroyed by last summer’s massive fire.  Fishing wasn’t an option in this area!
South side of Hwy 108 just below the bridge.
Forest Service Station in Dardanelle area. The Forest Service gentleman said that the reason their building survived in the middle of the devastation is that the crew cleared everything possible. They did lose a small out-building.  The photo is blurry because I am trying to enlarge a quite small panoramic image.
Entrance (on foot) to Donnell Overlook. The area is gated at this point in time.
Donnell Reservoir. FULL.
Somewhere in the lower parts of this photo is the starting point of the Donnell Fire.

Below is the thunder and rain storm that caught us just before Beardsley on the down hill run home.  There wasn’t even a drop of rain in Mi Wuk.  Or Strawberry.  Mountain storms!

And that, my friends and neighbors, is the story of our quick trip to Sonora Pass just after opening day 2019. We do love that drive.

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