Favorite thing: The islands in Mono Lake are major nesting areas for many species of birds. As the lake level dropped due to water diversion, some previous islands became peninsulas. Formerly protected nests became vulnerable to predators, both mammal and reptile.
Favorite thing: Lee Vining rests on the edge of Mono Lake. Mono Lake covers over 65 square miles and is over one million years old. The lake has no outlet, which contributes to the salinity of the water. Streams have long carried salts and minerals into the lake. The evaporating water leave the salts and minerals behind. The lake is far more salty than ocean water. Mono Lake is beautiful to behold, and fun to explore.
Favorite thing: I'm new at birdwatching, so I don't know what these noisy birds are called. I saw one flying around on the marsh near Eagle Lake a few hundred miles north. These birds were playing in the brush near Mono Lake's edge. There are many marsh birds surrounding the northside of the lake.
I bought a very nice book in the visitor's center of Mammoth Lakes: The Land of Little Rain, by Mary Austin. She was a poet, critic, playwright and novelist, who lived from 1868-1934.
This book is about her life in Owen's Valley. It was her first book, published in 1903.
You can read it online!
Mono Lake is one of the oldest lakes of North America and was formed during the Ice Age. It has no drainage. Salts and minerals it has collected during many centuries, makes this lake very salty. The water in the lake is falls since 1940, because of the fact that tributaries are used to provide Los Angeles with water. Strange chalk formations are visible along the beaches. Two miles north of Junction 120 and 394 on the northside of Lee Vining you can visit the Mono Lake Visitor Center with great exhibitions and views of this miraculous Lake surrounded by volcanoes and mountains.
Favorite thing: The Mono Lake's lowering waterlevel has left the strangely formed towers standing between kanefields or along the waterline. There are a few walks that show you the most remarkable ones. In the distance there are mountains visable and there is proove that few have volcanic activity. That is also the basis of these stone towering formations.
Favorite thing: MONO LAKE : This is a real saltsea (normal water really feels 'thinner' than the water of this lake). It is one of the oldest lakes of America (700.000 years). This place isn't what you expect to see in California... so amazing
Favorite thing: Of course I never had a chance to drive deep into Yosemite itself...just camped on the outskirts on my way north. There is quite a few campgrounds on the outskirts of Yosemite, but they fill up quickly.
Fondest memory: At Mono Lake...be sure to look out for the famous Brine Flies. If you listen closely, this is what you hear at the edge of Mono Lake on calm summer days as swarms of black alkali flies carpet the shoreline. Walk among them and they move away from you, not at all interested in humans. If you were algae in the lake, it would be a different story. Along the shoreline, at the surface, and even beneath the lake, you can watch alkali flies busily feeding on microscopic algae.
Favorite thing: This page is really dedicated to travellers stopping at Lee Vining to camp at the Yosemite entrance and to those visiting Mono Lake...a full breakdown of Yosemite will be in the upcoming Yosemite Page.
Fondest memory: Mono Lake and its surrounding area offer some unique terrain. It is not uncommon to see tumbleweeds, trees, and snowcaps in one landscape. It is just beautiful country.
Favorite thing: Mono Lake is full of brine shrimp that were keeping the seagulls busy being seagulls. It's always nice to see wild animals eating wildlife rather than fries at McDonald's.
Favorite thing: When you approach Lee Vining, driving the R#395 by car, stop at the view point just before the town. Your first view of Mono Lake!
Favorite thing: Coming of Tioga road, you see Mono Lake directly in front of you.
Favorite thing: Coming from Tioga Pass, you almost directly drive through Inyo National forest