In 2001 I had to go to Reno, Nevada for a conference on Pro/ENGINEER computer aided design software. So, I tried to make the best of it, and I added extra time on both weekends for personal travel. I got to see Reno, Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Virginia City, Devil’s Postpile, Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake. That’s a lotta stuff to fit into two weekends! But somehow I managed it, and for the most part had a great time traveling.
I had read about Mono Lake many years ago in a National Geographic article. It described how the lake was isolated in a desert valley, and how Los Angeles was taking the freshwater from the local streams and piping it away. The result is that the lake is gradually drying up.
The unusual thing about Mono Lake is that it has hot springs that pump water in from the surrounding water table. Some of this water dissolves the minerals, and deposits them when it enters the lake. This creates chimneys of tufa, which have become exposed as the water level has dropped. The landscape is eerie, spooky and alien-looking. Seems almost like a Tim Burton fantasyland.
It is bizarre and fascinating to walk among these formations. Now that they are exposed to the wind and rain (and tourists!), they are gradually eroding away. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see them. And now I am sharing some of my pictures of this surreal landscape. Hope you enjoy.
The beautiful and rugged Sierra Nevada mountains rise just to the west of Mono Lake. And on the other side is Yosemite National Park.
It is a little odd to see seagulls 150 miles from the ocean in the desert…
…but there is plenty of food for them, including these alkali flies.
Mono Lake is a major stop for migratory birds traveling along the Sierra Nevada range.
Salt and other mineral deposits have coated much of the landscape, including what little plant life manages to survive here.
Twilight at Mono Lake, and the birds have come home to roost:
Large photos can be seen on my website (click here)
Also of interest:
– Mono Lake migratory birds
– Read about Lake Lahontan, one of the great western lakes that covered much of western Nevada during the last ice age.
– Beautiful Lake Tahoe
– Sierra Nevada mountains
– Reno, Nevada
– Virginia City, Nevada – home of the greatest silver discovery in America
– Carson City, Nevada – Capital of Nevada, minted dollars from silver mined at Virginia City
– Devils Postpile National Monument (Wikipedia, National Park Service)
– Yosemite National Park (Wikipedia, National Park Service)
– Travel sponsored by Puritan Bennett oxygen therapy systems