It tends to be partly cloudy up here in Tuolumne Meadows. Afternoon rain and thunderstorms are not uncommon. We saw lightning strike about four times during the afternoon we were here. The next day we saw where the lightning struck.
Back in Echo Creek Valley on the trail that comes down from the pass we head south, away from the pass. The trail soon dissapears, but the hike remails very simple. It is nearly flat with just a slight descent and the view is grand.
Before long you will find yourself between the creek from Nelson Lake and Echo Creek. You will want to make your way into a forested area and descend along Nelson creek rather than Echo Creek which goes down a narrow patch of boulders between a small dome on the left and the ridge on the right. In the picture at right you can see the ridge and the base of the dome. This is where we head over to Nelson Creek.
We stay between these two creeks and then cross over Echo Creek just before they meet. We then head west because right at about the place where these two creeks meet we will cross over to the ridge to the other side. The cross over is a little difficult to find and you may pass it as we did as you move south along the ridge. You'll know you passed it if you come across a small, brown colored pond just beneath the ridge. This really isn't a very bad thing because from here you can scramble to the top of the ridge where you have an amazing view.
As you descend the other side you will stay between the small creek and the ridge on you right. It is a simple descent with a few patches of boulders that you'll have to scrable over. Below is a picture that looks back on the most difficult scramble which, as you can see, is not very difficult. Notice the rounded boulder on top of that rock, likely left behind from a glacier.
The previous evening we saw a few lightning strikes above this valley. As we walked down the next day we saw a tree stump that was blown up into small, charred bits surrounded by ash. Nature can be violent.
Before long you will come upon a ledge with an amazing view to the south. There is a stubby tree right here which is something worth looking at too.
From here you will continue down along the right. It is not long before you come across the trail. Just feet before the trail, but out of sight of the trail, you will meet up with the river again. It is much wider with large, flat rocks inside where you can sit and have lunch. Once at the trail you will turn right and continue to the pass.