Mono Lake – Alkaline Pretty

After heading south from Bridgeport on my trip late last summer, I arrived at Mono Lake, one of the largest lakes in California and a very unique ecosystem. We’ll get into the meat of the place in the next post, this one is mostly views from the north and west shores.

At the pullout to see the view I found this lovely butterfly on the side of the road

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The railing was so full of stickers I was astounded, each one is unique

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From west

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To east, the road down wasn’t fun

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There is a county park on the northwest shore

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It was really lovely and I had my lunch here

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Playgrounds and exercise areas along with lots of green grass

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And there is lake access along this path and boardwalk

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It transitions into the state park that covers various important areas

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Back before diversions of its water to LA, this lake was much higher, so much so that the shore is a few thousand feet out from here

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This used to all be water

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But the draining did reveal spectacular rock formations that rose from the springs that fed the lake while underwater

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I see a ship here in this one, what do you see?

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A little closer

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And even closer!

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Another formation

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The meadow here was pretty spectacular as well

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Filled with tiny flowers

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And these interesting water plants

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Closer to the shore, but there isn’t beach access here due to the wetlands

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Tons of birds were here, I felt a little silly trying to ID them based on the pictures and descriptions provided by the park

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This black mound was a former volcanic cinder cone, and the site of an earthquake fissure, love the colors in this shot

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Paoha Island reflected in the lake

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Heading further south

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Better view of Paoha

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And Negit Island, the smaller, darker cousin to Paoha

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Next time we’ll go into the visitor center and learn more about things like brine shrimp and flies.

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Bridgeport Continued

I’m awful on getting these up, sorry about that. I have another post lined up for sooner this time.

Anyway, I have some odds and ends from the next day of my trip to Bridgeport in the eastern sierras. Here we go…

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Such a cute town, here is the church

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And back to that historic and ornate courthouse

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A local museum had all kinds of cool stuff, this was made from the travertine deposits we saw in the last post, all polished up

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You can see the layers of minerals deposited in this cut-through

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It was really mesmerizing

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There was a room full of native american items, such as these arrowheads

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And grinding stones to process different food and materials

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Lots of baskets, they went from tiny to very large, depending on use

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These are local patterns here made by a woman in the 1920’s who knew of the old ways (according to several articles displayed)

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Washo are a neighboring tribe on the east side of the sierra

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They even had jugs to carry liquids

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These beaded baskets were my favorite. I wonder if I can buy a modern re-creation somewhere

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Love the color and patterns

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Very interesting item

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A very large grinding rock in the park outside

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And then I was on my way south on 395 towards mono lake and mammoth mountain

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I think that is it in the background

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The early fall provided me with a treat, the aspens were turning their bright yellow, vibrant colors that so many come here for

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A grove that was still green becomes a spectacle in another month (october)

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And the view on the way into the basin for the lake, it was pretty steep getting down!

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Next time we’ll visit spectacular Mono Lake and its islands

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Bridgeport and Travertine Hot Springs

Just after last Labor Day, I took a trip out to the eastern Sierra’s, but still in California. After getting over the crest, and down very steep slopes, I arrived at my first destination, Bridgeport.

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I actually stayed at this Inn, it is very historic

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Bridgeport is also the county seat of Mono, a sparsely populated, but obviously beautiful area on the Nevada border south of Tahoe

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This county courthouse is the oldest operating courthouse in California, a very important historical monument

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The architecture is eclectic but very ornate in areas

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More info

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The old county jail was used until very recently, 1951

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Rather desolate place really

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My main destination was here

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This is some of the drainage off the spring, showing the lack of trees

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Another view, the travertine is like that found in Italy, but much more rare on this continent. It was mined here for many years, you can see remnants around the area such as the cliff

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A dry pond, the drought was very apparent

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But some areas were bubbling with mud and algae

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This was the upper spring, heading downhill from the source to a pool

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Looks like they may re-cut the canal each year after the snows melt

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But this is a very old split, as shown by the depth and deposits on the sides

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The pool was nicely constructed but seemed gross due to a bit of algae and a lack of robust flow from the spring

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The water is so loaded with minerals that it created a shelf where it enters the pool

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With very mesmerizing deposits below

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The view from the ridge was fantastic, that is the back side of the Sierra Nevada, with the bridgeport valley in the foreground

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The main pools overlook this valley in a spectacular fashion

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Here it is coming out of the earth, forming this massive deposit

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As the water cascades down, it deposits the minerals in these formations, the green is algae thriving in the hottest environments

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This pool was a bit too hot, so everyone was further over where the water had cooled a bit

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The sunset was glorious

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It happened a little earlier than expected, due to the mountains

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But they did provide a wonderful display before getting very dark, very quickly

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Next up: Mono Lake and its wonderful geologic formations.

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UC Davis-Haagen Daaz Honeybee Haven

Just outside Davis is this gem of a garden meant to attract and feed bees. It was funded by the ice cream company as part of the institute they funded to research colony-collapse disorder. This condition devastates hives and is starting to impact crops. Native bees are really beneficial, we feed hundreds here with sunflowers. They can be small, medium and large and some have vivid coloration.

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There are many of these old roads lined with olive trees. You could make your own oil there are so many

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Entrance

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They have these lovely ceramic tile towers

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And this is a native bee box, lots of room for carpenter bees and other natives

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Giant bee sculpture

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Looks friendly though

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Freshly drilled out by carpenter bees

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I’ll name flowers where able, but not sure on most so enjoy the show

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Desert Willow

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California lilac

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Baby’s Breath

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Seating area, good spot for a picnic when not hot

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Yarrow

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California Rose (native)

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Seed pods of something else

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Native Grass

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Pink Yarrow

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Hive

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Elderberries before ripening

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Black Eyed Susan

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Echinecea

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See you next time.

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