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TR: Glen Aulin -> Burro & Mule Passes -> Buckeye

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avatar TR: Glen Aulin -> Burro & Mule Passes -> Buckeye
August 23, 2017 09:38PM
I left Tioga Pass Road on the 14th, after getting a short lift from a Parisian car camper to whom I gave my local knowledge on where to find a camping spot. XC-ed to Glen Aulin the next day, past the little lake in the woods. The HSC was closed because the bridge was knocked off its abutments; the bridge can still be used on foot, downstream. There's light traffic on the PCT still. Mostly I noticed the SOBO hikers.

Saw no one from the PCT, up Matterhorn Canyon, to just short of Mule Pass, where I started to encounter all the Friday entrants from Twin Lakes. Matterhorn has a large snowfield around 9400' that has dangerous (five-foot drop) snow bridges that can't be seen from above. I skirted it on the uphill side easily. The snow on Burro is solely on the top and west side, extending down about 100 ft. It's soft, easy to kick-step down with poles. Scattered snowfields block the trail for the next half-mile or so, but they can be easily avoided.

Mule had snow from about 10.1k on the east pretty much to the trail junction on the west. There was an obvious creek on skier's left that I avoided.

The rest of the trail was in great hiking condition. There were a few blowdown areas in Matterhorn, but no problem. Mosquitoes were abundant in the forested area of Piute Creek, but were never particularly aggressive, just annoying when they were numerous.

I intended to exit Hetch Hetchy, but missed the turn at Buckeye Forks and ended up exiting early through the saturated cow pasture outside the wilderness boundary. Afternoon storms with light rain and some hail had moved in, and I fell into a creek just before, so it was for the best.

Getting back to Mammoth or Tioga Pass was going to cost me $110 with the sole, local shuttle service, but I found a cheaper alternative.

P.S.: I'm looking for beta on the current snow conditions on Mono Divide peaks & passes.
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