Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Storm at Mono Lake

One of my favorite places to visit is Mono Lake a briny scrubby ancient and interesting lake. Being that there is no outlet the water is saline and undrinkable but that's what also makes it unique. Mono lake is an important site for migratory birds and I read that 80% of California's gulls get their start here. The lake is rich in brine shrimp which is a protein packed meal for nesting sea birds.

The day was beautiful as the storm clouds moved in..

rabbitbrush illuminated as the darkening sky approached.

Tufa towers are formed from springs deep below the surface containing calcium and other minerals.

tufa, reeds on the shorline

and the sky turned to slate

and the birds fished

gold along the banks


Then the heavens broke loose and the rain poured down.

I must say this is the first time I have visited Mono Lake that it wasn't extremely hot. The weather was a true gift.

When I visit these places I'm always drawn to the history of the people that were here before, the early people that lived in harmony with the land. The lake has another interesting feature it's banks and waters are thick with brine flies that actually swim below the surface. You would think walking through a swarm of flies would be rather intolerable, quite the opposite the flies will never touch or land on you, it's rather like Moses parting the Red sea :) The Kutzadika'a Piute people of the region consisted mainly on the larvae of the fly.

My internet has been spotty and unreliable, we went off the grid completely and dry camped along a beautiful river in the high country, more later.....

Thank you for your comments and I'm sorry about not replying, I'll see you when I get home.

Love and hugs to you all, Ro


  1. What an interesting "travelog".
    Your photos are great, as usual. (I have always wondered....what camera do you use?)

    Looks like you are having a wonderful break from the routine.
    I am enjoying your posts.


  2. Ro,

    what a gorgeous bit of the world! Loved seeing a good rainstorm, even digitally far away - rain is a good thing :) xo

  3. how wonderful to be off the grid, i can see your in a beautiful place, and i love the weather!
    safe travels,
    xx lori

  4. stunning photos!
    That wading bird, it looks like a godwit?

  5. Stunning photos and sites indeed... relax and absorb the scenery xx

  6. wonderful photos Ro! I love "being on the trail" with you!

  7. Yes, definitely an interesting post & great photos!! I have been curious about Mono Lake for many years but have never visited. Glad to know the ancient lake continues to be protected. xoxoxo

  8. Wow- tufa where it really comes from. I only see it in rock gardens where it looks (to me) fake.

  9. How fascinating...we never know what we will see and learn!

    Re: the tufa...I have a ring that is "tufa cast" by the popular artist Philander Begay. He carves tufa making his mold, and then after casting the ring, each mold is broken. All pieces are OOAK naturally. Do you think this tufa (that you showed us)is what he is using?

    xoxoxo {and hurry home! :o) }

  10. Thank you Cinder, I use an old beat up cannon power shot for camping,it has been used so much the silver is worn to white on the edges and the print is all worn off. The lens has a chip where I dropped it in the rocks once but I don't have to worry too much about taking care of it and I'm so used to it, pictures are second nature.

    Hi Allison, I wished for rain and boy did I find it, it was wonderful!

    It was soo0 good Lori, I'm glad your husband made it back safely. All that unstable air was a treat.

    A godwit perhaps Juli I need to look it up I saw two different but similar birds, they look like the ones along your shoreline.

    Hello Mona, I wrestled some cool fog and clouds back with me :)

    Hi Deb, I thought about you near the creek :)

    Oh gosh Priscilla you are definitely in the know concerning Mono Lake, the water was so low from being diverted in years past tufa on the bottom was exposed also the island the birds used for breeding formed a land bridge so coyotes and other predators could walk right out and gobble them up. Through the efforts, diligence and education of the public Mono lake has never looked better, the bridge and tufa are now safely tucked below the surface. I hope you can make it there sometime it's an incredible sight.

    I would bet tufa in Michigan would look really out of place, S like the petrified wood log that came to us as a gift, curious.

    I'm not sure Songbird, possibly, tufa would be easy to carve like the limestone "sand cast" Native American jewelry another technique is to pour melted metal in a carved cuttlebone which is actually some sort of dried fish like the ones hung inside bird cages. Liquid molten silver would fill all the voids when poured then the soft stone would be broken away.

    I'm home with the washing machine singing getting my bearings and thinking how easy it is to live in a house :)

  11. Welcome Home Sweet Ro!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Welcome home!!

    (And I, for one, was enchanted with your information about the brine flies, although I don't know about eating them....)