Tom Terrific
(Mt. Tom 13,652)

4-5 Jul 2002 - by Debbie Bulger

The view from Mt. Tom is terrific, especially the sight of Mt. Humphreys thrusting skyward to the south. I only wish I had climbed Mt. Tom two months earlier this dry year.

It is a long hot trudge, and the lack of snow precluded the quick descent others have described. The old tungsten mines, however, are fascinating including abandoned adits, rusting hulks of generators, remnants of an ore tram, and well preserved log buildings.

As Richard Stover and I drove over Tioga Pass, we observed truck after truck of CDF firefighters returning from the just-extinguished Tom's Place fire which came uncomfortably close to many homes. It appears that the Mt. Tom trailhead area burned last year, and the result for the prickly poppies seems positive. I have never seen such a spectacular display of these large white blooms massed over several acres.

We hiked to Upper Horton Lake on the Fourth of July after getting a permit. Coming directly from sea level made the short backpack all the exercise we wanted for the day. After dark we watched the fireworks far below in Bishop before turning in for the night.

The next day's climb was hot and dusty (bring plenty of water). We took the road to the Tungstar mine and ascended the chute mentioned by Secor. Our knees complained on the descent. Back in camp, we decided to leave Basin for another day, (one with snow) and hiked out early.

This Bishop landmark is more like a desert peak than a Sierra Peak. Check it out while there's still snow on the ground.

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