Mono Lake is in Northern California, just east of Yosemite National Park. Last summer, a group of friends made an epic trip to Yosemite (which, I should probably get around to writing about) and stopped at Mono Lake to stretch our legs.
Mark Twain described Mono Lake as “lifeless, treeless, hideous desert… the loneliest place on earth.” (Roughing It, 1872.) However, I am a desert girl, I love the wide, open spaces and geological anomalies are something of a pet favorite of mine. Cartwheeling across the flattest place on earth? Done. SCUBA diving in a dormant volcano? Done. Hunting for a half-forgotten lava tube, and then wandering through it in the pitch black? Done. Jumping off a monolithic stone arch? Yep. (Of course, with proper safety precautions, like harness and rope and such.) I just cannot get enough of the rocky, desolate places of the earth; I think they are inspiring, beautiful, and force you to reconsider the things you thought you knew.
Mono Lake is incredibly salty, there is no outlet for water except for evaporation, and over the thousands and millions of years this process has created a lake with such a high saline concentrate most plants and animals cannot live in or near it. However, there are these amazing stalagmite formations of tufa that have literally grown out of the lake, kind of like coral reefs, that are bleached white in the sun and form this very other-wordly landscape. Goodness, it was fascinating.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
love that this lake is surrounded by mountains, it reminded me of home.
Isn’t that just crazy-awesome?
I was completely obsessed with how enormous these formations were. I’m sure they’ve been there for millions of years to grow to their current height, but still, it was so impressive to me!
The blue of the sky and the lake, the purpley gray of the mountains, and the gray and white of the tufa columns is just such a lovely color palette. #pretentiousalert
See the rest of the Flickr set here.