Magnificent Mono Lake

When Mr. Misadventures and I made our side trip to Bodie, our main destination was Mono Lake. The only thing I had ever remembered about Mono Lake was “Save Mono Lake” bumper stickers on station wagons that I probably saw while visiting California to see my grandparents when I was younger. I guess the bumper stickers worked because in 1983 the Mono Lake Committee and the National Audobon Society won their Supreme Court case against Los Angeles (who had diverted the water from the lake to LA counties) forever protecting this region. I learned about all this after I arrived. And having visited this uniquely beautiful spot, I can see why it was important to do so. It is unlike any other place I have seen thus far. Photography at Mono Lake is wonderful! Whether you are into sunrises, sunsets, rock formations and animals, there is something to capture.

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I am not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this:

Mono Lake-Tufa Towers
Mono Lake Tufa Towers, Photo Credit: Mr. Misadventures

These rock formations are called Tufa towers which form in a variety of ways at Mono Lake. The most visible formations are the towers on the lake’s shoreline. The largest concentration of the tufa towers is located at the South Tufa grove just off of Hwy 120 East, at the south end of Mono Lake which is exactly where we stopped. For a place that was kind of desolate and unfriendly, the colors were gorgeous.

Mono Lake Colors

This one was fun too.

MONO LAKE

We were on a reconnaissance mission for the next morning. The plan was to take photos at sunrise (yes, again….)  We walked around a bit and took a few more photos and then drove another 30 minutes down the road to Mammoth to stay the night. Mammoth is a ski resort that a lot of people from Los Angeles use. It is less practical for people from the San Francisco Bay Area as the pass we used to get to Bodie and Mono Lake is closed at the first snow so you really have to want to drive a lot of extra miles to go here. For most Bay Area folks, Lake Tahoe is just far more convenient.

Nonetheless, Mammoth is beautiful in the summer as well and we enjoyed a wonderful picnic dinner in our hotel room with a view of the mountains.

The next morning at 4:00 a.m. (ugh, don’t even get me started….) we headed to Mono Lake for the sunrise. We arrived before that happened and made our way out to the spot the Mr. Misadventures had scoped out the day before. And while he set up his two cameras and tripods, etc. I entertained myself by taking photos of the moon.

Moon on Mono Lake

And peeking in on other photographers.

Photographer at Mono Lake

We were first, but we weren’t the last and as the sunrise got closer and closer, more and more photographers began showing up. Personal space became a problem and I nearly had a heart attack when the wife of another photographer bumped one of my husband’s cameras. It was perched on precarious rocks and I had visions of it falling into the water. I began to try to remember all the Chinese I could so that I could explain to the lady she owed us several thousand dollars if it did happen!

Mono Lake Photographers

Lucky enough that wasn’t needed, although I did have to smile when that lady’s husband lost his footing and he ended up with one leg in the lake, guess that was some form of karma. My hubby got the shots he wanted, sort of, he has a master plan on how he wants to redo it when we go back up there in a couple of weeks, but I think this shot turned out great (except it is really wide and when I reduce it to fit here, it makes it really small!).

MONO LAKE
Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

After our sunrise adventures, we headed back to the hotel and had a huge breakfast. My reward for getting up so early! We began heading back home gently. Somehow we took a different route back out of Mammoth than the one we had arrived in on and pretty shortly we ended up slowing down for a whole bunch of cars. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on until I saw the gates of Yosemite. I have never been to Yosemite, so I was thrilled! Totally unplanned, but I got to drive through the park and check out some of their famous meadows, even if it was only for a few hours. What a treat!

Yodemite Meadow

How about you? Have you been to this area of California? Know any spots I should check out on my next trip up there?

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Magnificent Mono Lake California USAMagnificent Mono Lake California USAMagnificent Mono Lake California USA

20 Comments

  1. Kari
    August 19, 2013

    Wow! Never been there but that is stunning!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 19, 2013

      @Kari, it was incredible!

      Reply
  2. Candice
    August 19, 2013

    Wow, that looks gorgeous. What a cool looking place!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 19, 2013

      @Candice, it is really amazing there!

      Reply
  3. Katie @ Domestiphobia.net
    August 20, 2013

    Gorgeous!!! You are such talented photographers. Now my inner geology student needs to research Tufa towers…

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 20, 2013

      @Katie, most of those pics belong to the Misters and he loves it when people compliment him on them 😉

      Reply
  4. Liza in Ann Arbor
    August 20, 2013

    I once ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich there. It was so dry that my sandwich bread turned into toast before I even finished it! Such a bizarrely beautiful place.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 20, 2013

      @Liza, what an awesome story!

      Reply
  5. Nena Sinclair
    November 25, 2013

    What an amazing place! The scenery is gorgeous! I’ve never heard of it before I read this article!

    Reply
  6. Trisha B.
    November 25, 2013

    #4 This seems to be such a wonderful experience and such a beautiful place to visit.

    Reply
  7. carla bonesteel
    November 25, 2013

    Comment #5 – OMG! These photos are breathtaking! Your post is awesome, and THIS is one of the places I’d like to visit before I die.

    Reply
  8. ginette4
    November 28, 2013

    Wow breathtaking, my sense of adventure is creeping in, great shots by the way

    Reply
  9. Melissa G
    December 7, 2013

    Tufa Towers….AMAZING!!!! I would love to see this for myself. Cheers!

    Reply
  10. Widyaning A
    December 15, 2013

    Incredible, very fascinating!

    Reply
  11. cheridene boucher
    December 20, 2013

    it looks absolutely stunning

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      December 25, 2013

      @Cheridene, it is definitely something to visit once in your life!

      Reply
  12. Shannon
    March 5, 2014

    This is simply stunning! I love all the pictures.

    Reply
  13. Niharika Gautam
    March 16, 2014

    Love the post!

    Reply
  14. Steven Boynes
    April 1, 2014

    Great photos! I did a multi-day road trip here from SF as well. If you haven’t already, you might also check out the ancient bristlecone pine forest in Bishop, CA,, about 2 hours south. I hadn’t originally planned on driving the extra 2 hours, but along the way in Columbia (near Sonora Pass) the gentleman at the visitor center was so enthusiastic that I decided to check it out. They are the single oldest known living organisms on the planet.

    Reply
  15. Dorothy Boucher
    June 20, 2014

    nope 😉 sorry have not been out of MA in such a long time, but oh I am so ready to travel and see American and so much more.. I am praying money will come my way loll thanks for sharing and great photos

    Reply

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