Thursday, July 31, 2008

en route to Yosemite--Part II: Devil's Postpile and Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is about 10 miles south of Mono Lake. On our trip we spent a day there hiking around a few of the local craters. After, we rode a bus from Mammoth Village that hugged the edge of a thousand foot drop on the way down to Devil's Postpile National Monument. We hiked with a group on a ranger walk to the backside of Devils' Postpile and saw more of the beautiful Sierras.

Mammoth is gorgeous in summer!

(Mammoth Lakes craters, Devil's Postpile, July 2006)

Monday, July 21, 2008

en route to Yosemite--Part I: sunset at Mono Lake

On a drive north of the California desert...

On a road trip a few years back, on the way to Yosemite, we drove up scenic Highway 395 that has an awesome view of the Sierras. We stayed a few nights in Lee Vining near Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lake, an alkaline and hypersaline lake and an important ecosystem for migratory birds. One evening we hiked down to the lake and enjoyed an amazing sunset.

The bizarre rock formations that grow out of Mono Lake are called tufa towers--calcium-carbonate spires and knobs created when freshwater springs meet the alkaline lake water.

In 1941, water from the Owens River was diverted to feed the growing city of Los Angeles. Because of that, water levels at Mono Lake have been precipitously low for years. Recently, due to the effort of lobbying groups, the water level is rising though the lake is not at its full capacity. We saw a lot of tee-shirts that said "Save Mono Lake." A great cause, indeed.

(Mono Lake, July 2006, the Sierras in the background)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

curious roadrunner

A few years ago we stopped at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitors Center in 29 Palms and came across a friendly roadrunner. At first he blended in with an outdoor mural. He hopped around looking at us then he appeared to be reading the information plaque. You never know what you'll see at the park!

(Joshua Tree National Park, November 2004)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July from one of America's most beautiful places

Juliana (Joshua Tree National Park, November 2000)

Climbers taking a break on top of a rock...

Sunset at the Cholla Garden...

(photos: Joshua Tree National Park, March 2008)