Friday, February 26, 2016

Mono Lake

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Mono Lake Photographed From On Top Of Mammoth Mountain
(22 miles away as the crow flies using a 400mm lens)

As you drive east through Yosemite National Park on Highway 120, you pass through Tuolumne Meadows. Continuing east you pass through the gate at Tioga Pass at almost 10,000’. As you drive the steep descent toward Lee Vining CA, The stark sight of Mono Valley begins to appear as a sharp contrast to Tuolumne’s lush green and mountainous ambiance.

In the middle of Mono Valley lies Mono Lake. There is a great deal of politics surrounding the water that feeds Mono Lake, which has no outlet. Because there is no outlet, the lake has more than twice the salinity as the ocean and the more freshwater routed away from Mono Lake and to Los Angles, the lower the level and the more saline the water. Because the saline content is so high, the lake has a deep blue color different than freshwater lakes.

Legal action has now established a suitable level that is lower than before fresh water was routed away from the lake but higher than it is now. There is a sign along the trail where the hoped for increased water level will be. The latest lengthy California drought has slowed much of the lake elevation goal. The irony is that the higher the water rises in the lake, the more the famous Tufa’s are lost from sight by the water.

I found it to be a windy and barren sight with a unique brutal beauty. There is a parking area, three-dollar entry fee, bathrooms and an established trail with informational signs placed along the way. The lake is an important flyway for birds and the Brine Shrimp in the lake provide a food source.


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