For several years we have passed by this area and never had the time to stop and explore it. Finally the opportunity came and we have a few days to linger here. We stayed at the Mono Vista RV park, which is about the only choice here. They have many rules and regulations and the sites are tight but we were happy to have a site and stay awhile.
Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in a basin that has no outlet to the sea. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salt to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.
The spectacular “Tufa Towers” are spires of calcium-carbonate and are formed by the interaction of freshwater and the alkaline lake water. The lake itself is about 65 square miles in size. It is considered to be one of the oldest lakes in North America. These spires are of course best photographed during the magic hours around sunrise and sunset but if you only have a limited time here you can still get great photos. It is such an unusual landscape.
There are miles of dirt roads to travel in this area. Many are well maintained. In the winter however you have to check locally to see which roads are open. Otherwise cross country skiing is the best transportation. Be sure to stop at the Visitor center on the north end of town. We didn’t take a swim in the lake but they say it is an experience of buoyancy.
The nearby PARNUM CRATER is worth the drive to the trailhead and also the hike to the top where you can observe the dome and crater rim.
On the last day, May 3rd, we took a drive up to Tioga Summit. The gates to Yosemite Park were still closed but were expected to open in a matter of days.