Our journey down the John Muir Trail, name dropping all the way, continues this week.
Part 2 is here. Here we go with part 3.
Cathedral Peak & Cathedral Lakes. The peak was named by the California Geological Society in 1863, and the first recorded ascent was in September of 1869 by…John Muir! The lower and larger of the two lakes took the name Cathedral, from the peak. The name was applied to the upper lake some years later. The small, granite peninsula jutting out into the smaller, southernmost lake (in the photo, above) is one of my favorite spots on the JMT, and there are some good campsites a hundred yards or so south of it.
Tuolumne Meadows. The JMT route I subscribe to stays on the south side of the Tioga Pass road, so technically, you will not enter Tuolumne Meadows. But you will certainly see it. The meadow gets its name from the same place as the Tuolumne River: the Indian tribe known as the Taulámne. The current spelling first appeared on a map in 1849. Interesting, the Tuolumne River was previously named the Delores by Spanish explorers, but the name did not stick.
Lembert Dome. This granite terrain feature is also north of the Tioga Pass Road, but is impossible to miss. If you are looking for a short hike with a high return-on-hiking-investment, perhaps while you acclimate before you begin your JMT hike, the trail is easily done in a morning or afternoon, and the view is from the top is panoramic. The dome was named for Jean Baptiste Lembert, who moved to Tuolumne Meadows sometime before 1882 and lived there for several years before he was murdered (the crime was unsolved) in the winter of 1896-97. Initially Lembert raised goats, but when a snowstorm killed his trip he turned to collecting butterflies. Two insect names recognize his work, the Gazoryctra lembertii (a brown moth) and Callophrys sheridanii lemberti (a green butterfly). Amazingly, the cabin that Lembert built is still partially standing (see photo, above).
Tioga Pass Road. The road, of course, is named for the pass. The name has an Indian provenance, but actually comes from the Iroquois – not a tribe associated with the Sierra Nevada. One might also expect the pass to be near the Tioga River, but wrong again. There are three rivers in the United States that carry the name, but one is in Michigan, one is in New Hampshire, and one winds through New York and Pennsylvania. There was a Tioga Mine in Yosemite; perhaps one of the miners, or owners, was from a place in the east where the name “Tioga” was used? Nevertheless, the name seems to have migrated from the mine to the pass to the road.
Good hiking, Ray