The sights along the way of snow covered peaks and distant craggy spires was amazing. I'm not sure what I expected at the far side of the pass ~ surely a nice vista of distant Mono Lake, but when we headed down Bloody Canyon and could finally see around a bend in the trail, the sight was nothing less than jaw-dropping. A real pay-off for our hike of 4 miles or so.
We ate our lunch on some glacier-smoothed rocks above one of the Sardine Lakes. The tale is that they are named that because of a clumsy pack animal which was carrying a load of sardines to the upper camps and slipped into one of the lakes and drown. Perhaps a better name for them would be Clumsy Ass Lakes, or Dumb Ass Lakes ... just a suggestion.
I got out my watercolour kit and started a little sketch, then we headed down Bloody Canyon (named that because of two factors - that the pack animals cut themselves so much on the sharp rocks, and because the rocks have a deep red hue which is sort of blood coloured) to where we had a view of the lower Sardine Lake.
There was another lake beyond that which would have been nice to see ... but the elevation grade at that point was quite substantial ... and we would have had to huff and puff our way back up ... and we still had some exploring to do on a side trail, back up at the top of the pass.
When we took the side-trail, I wasn't expecting much, really. The word was that there was an old mining camp up there - the Golden Crown Mines. I figured it would be like the last ones that we explored above Gaylor Lakes, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a half dozen old cabins in various stages of disrepair and the mouth of an abandoned mine about a quarter of a mile above. The mouth of the mine was still full of snow, so I couldn't see or venture in (which is probably just as well). But it was exciting, nonetheless.