August 20 – Mosquito Flat to Fourth Recess
August 21 – Fourth Recess to Third Recess Lake
August 22 – Third Recess Lake to Pioneer Basin
August 23 – Pioneer Basin to Upper Hopkins Lake
August 24 – Upper Hopkins Lake to Laurel Lake
August 25 – Laurel Lake to Second Recess
August 26 – Second Recess to Upper Mills Creek Lake
August 27 – Upper Mills Creek Lake to Dade Lake
August 28 – Dade Lake to Mosquito Flat
The Mono Recesses are four hanging valleys above the main valley of Mono Creek. Each one has a trail going part of the way into it, with the Fourth and Second Recesses having the best trails. Fourth Recess Lake is popular, being close to Mono Creek, and Second Recess is popular due to its route up to popular Gabbot Pass, one of the passes on the Sierra High Route and a primary route over the Mono Divide.
This trip took us on a tour of three of the four Mono Recesses, as well as three basins north of Mono Creek. We crossed a total of five off-trail passes, three of which are not listed in Secor’s The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, a book we use to plan off-trail trips. The most difficult pass, however, was one that is listed and labeled as class 2. Perhaps we didn’t find the class 2 route on the east side of Cox Col, but it ended up being closer to class 3. The pass between Fourth and Third Recess had a small section on the Third Recess side that could be classified as class 3. Other than that, all of the off-trail passes were solid class 2.
Although this trip didn’t cover a long distance (TOPO!, the mapping software used to create the maps on these pages, says 38 miles), much of it was off-trail and rugged. On the second and eighth days we were worn out at the end of days that covered maybe five miles each.