May 9, 2014

MONO LAKE, CA

When Kim & I were in Yosemite a few years back, I wanted to visit this place, but the passes from west to east were still closed, so we moved on south to Death Valley. 

Nestled at the edge of the arid Great Basin and the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains in California, Mono Lake is an ancient saline lake that covers over 70 square miles and supports a unique and productive ecosystem. The lake has no fish; instead it is home to trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies. Freshwater streams feed Mono Lake, supporting lush riparian forests of cottonwood and willow along their banks. Along the lakeshore, scenic limestone formations known as tufa towers rise from the water's surface. Millions of migratory birds visit the lake each year.



I came in from the south and east through a great high pass loaded with big fir and remnants of the logging era. Several interpretive plaques explained the role of the lake area in early wood production. Although all the "big" trees are long gone, there were a few older ones that were impressive.


Further along the Tufa area appeared, a very interesting trail near the shore through all the formations!




I found a nice quiet County park on the north end of the lake, great place to boondock for the evening.

A three mile walk the next morning led me to a high plateau overlooking the lake, with a small community graveyard.  Most headstones were either modest or "hand-made".

I did some birding that morning, predominantly robins & cowbirds, along with a few Wilson's warblers.

Nearer the shore, I saw a few of those birds the lake is well known for:




Later that morning, I drove back along the highway and enjoyed even more the backdrop of the Sierras in the morning light!

1 comment:

Nathan Fry said...

The blog is great, Dad! The texts are fun but it's super nice to get the "full picture" on your site! I'm happy to know how happy you are out there adventuring and slowing down time. Love you.