Three times Yuriko and Shigeaki Ohta, friends since 1967, have brought groups to trek in the Sierras using Fontier Pack Train to do the heavy lifting.
In 2005 we started at FPT'd HQ at Silver Lake on the June Lake Loop just south of Lee Vining, CA. Our duffle bags are on the table ready to be loaded on the mules, our day packs are on our backs for the first day's walk.
FPT's Dave Dohnel joins the group photo. He then turned and pointed up the mountain and said "Best get going!"
The east side of the Sierra's is a bit steep...the trail cut into the face of the rock. The track is used to get materials up to Gem Lake dam, ...
...from where we got our first views of the high Sierras.
The walkers depart before the pack train is ready to do so, but somewhere along the way they over take us...
...and we then proceed to camp where the mules and horses are already unloaded. (Davis Lake).
The high point of this walk was Donohue Pass (11,057'), reached on a relatively gentle incline.
From it, we had a long view down the Lyell Canyon, towards Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.
The trail down afforded a good view of glacier covered Mt. Lyell (13.114').
Well down now, the trail leveled off as we walked along the Lyell RIver....
...and into camp where Oscar had dinner well underway.
A layover day allowed bathing, washing, fishing, day hiking, and a long view back up the canyon to the pass.
All too soon the sixth day was upon us, and we got our last chance to take pictures of the passing pack train.
The third trek, in 2012, started in Mammoth Lakes, a major ski and hiking area south of June Lake.
Warren loads Babe while the other mules, loaded and ready to go, patiently wait.
Like the 2005 trip, the start is steep, and we went over the highest point, Duck Pass (10,797') on the first day.
The route took us around Mt. Mammoth (the bald slopes on the right) so now we are looking back towards Mammoth Lakes.
We passed Devil's Postpile National Monument, and ...
...spent two nights at Johnston Lake....
... allowing a layover day hike up Minaret Creek.
Camp at Rosalie Lake allowed a vantage point looking across at Two Teats Mountain...
...as well as a sunset over the lake.
A morning walk along the lakeshore before heading to our last campsite at ...
...Clarks Lake, where the sun rose on Banner Mountain. From here we descended the trail we went up the first day of the 2005 trip, to the FPT HQ on Silver Lake.
From there we drove to the iconic Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley, and ...
....up to Glacier Point for the sunset.
The trip ended with a couple nights in San Francisco, where we visited my favorite site, the Palace of Fine Arts, 1915, Bernard Maybeck, architect.
Built as the tides of war were rising in Europe, Maybeck turned the heroic female statues inward...
....their heads buried in their hands (thank you google image search).