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Mono Lake, California

Posted by on May 3, 2013
Mark at Mono Lake at Sunset

Mark at Mono Lake at Sunset

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 south end_

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.

Tufas in the sunlight

 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.

 

Jeep roads along Mono Lake

Jeep roads along Mono Lake

 

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. 

Sage Grass at South end of Mono Lake

Sage Grass at South end of Mono Lake

 

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.

The beginning of the Trail to the crater

The beginning of the Trail to the crater

 

Obsidian Rocks at the Crater

Obsidian Rocks at the Crater

 

View from Craters edge back to the trail and the Eastern Sierra

View from Craters edge back to the trail and the Eastern Sierra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mono Lake North unplugged

Mono Tufas upclose

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.

At the summit of Tioga Pass in May

At the summit of Tioga Pass in May

 

Now we are off to the Carson Valley area.

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