North of Mammoth, CA, and south of Bridgeport, CA, on the east side of the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains sits a lake, a lake I've driven by a number of times on California's Route 395. This time I stopped to explore.
Mono Lake is located at 6300' and is a terminal lake, meaning it has no outlet to the ocean. Water comes in but does not leave. Because of this the water within the lake is very salty. It is, however, home to brine shrimp (way too small for shish kabob's) and provides critical nesting habitat for at least 35 species of migratory water fowl who feed on the shrimp.
Mono Lake from 8,000' Conway Summit. Darker Grass Mountain (11,123') lies between Mono Lake and the still (June) snow covered White Mountains on the horizon. See more about White Mountain Peak here.
The Mono Basin Visitor Center (located off Route 395), a logical start to a jaunt down to Mono Lake.
A view of Mono Lake from the Visitor Center
Zoroaster takes one of the boardwalks out to a Tufa view area.
Ducks and the start of Tufa formations. Nope, not salt, but limestone.
My Tufa formations. See much better Tufa formations here.
Looking up from the lake to Mono Dome, a 10,600' peak that helps encapsulate the lake within it's basin.
Looking up from lakeside to the Mono Basin Visitor Center and the start of this recovery run.
Views from along one of the several dirt roads that round the lake.
Zoroaster intimidates the migratory water fowl.
California gulls covered the shoreline this day. Mono Lake is the gulls' second largest nesting habitat, first being Utah's Great Salt Lake.
Miles and miles of sandy beaches and salty water.
Z, aka Snake Tracker, stalks a reptile friend.
Our friend the garter snake.
Zoroaster refreshes herself in one of the few freshwater feeders of the lake, Lee Vining Creek. This water was cold!
Mono Lake as seen from its south side and CA Route 120. Next time we run around the Lake...I wonder how far that is?
The stunning White Mountains of California as seen from CA Route 120. Nevada's highest point is at the far left, Boundary Peak which sits at 13,140'.
Your Moment of Zen
Yes, it's true folks! As of January 2011 dogs are now allowed legally at Las Vegas Strip casinos. Here Zoroaster enjoys the comforts of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. I really enjoyed the look on people's faces as we paraded past slot machines, lingerie shops and pool side cabanas on the way to the artificial turfed, 10' x 10' "Doggie Relief Area" at 2am.