We drove six hours through Yosemite and over Tioga Pass to the east side of the Sierras where our trail began. As usual, Mom was quite happy to drive and leave the hiking to us. This was also the first major backpacking trip for Aunt Kay and Steve, so we decided to have an easy 3-mile first day.
The parking lot at the trailhead was already about 10,000 feet high, which meant we only had about 2,000 vertical feet of hiking to reach the top of Mono Pass, and head cross over to the west side.
We found a nice campsite at Ruby Lake, and we were extremely grateful to stop early since when you have towering peaks to your west the sun tends to set pretty early. I also tend not to sleep very well when camping above 10,000 feet, so it was nice not to be sore on top of that.
Once the sun dropped behind the ridge, it got cold pretty quick. Kay and Steve seemed especially chilled, although they steadfastly refused to complain. We ate a gourmet meal of gnocchi with sun-dried tomatoes (really) and got directly into our sleeping bags.
As the wind died down, the lake became calm and smooth as glass.