Lee Vining, CA
We stayed in Carson City for an extra day to let some rainy weather pass. When Monday dawned with clear skies, we headed south on US-395 into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Dave and Sue stopped to fill up their propane tank then followed us into the mountains.
US-395 in this area is an incredible scenic route through beautiful snow-covered mountains.
Rounding a bend we were greeted with a vista that takes one’s breath away. Out in the distance below us was Mono Lake!
The highway drops steeply down into the Mono Basin, winding around the end of the lake.
We quickly set up at Mono Vista RV Park, the only option in the town of Lee Vining (pop. 222) and headed to Mono Lake to check out the sand tufa. Mono Lake’s tufa towers (pronounced “toofah”) are spectacular examples of what nature can do with a few basic elements. These unusual spires and knobs are formed when calcium-bearing freshwater springs happen to well up through alkaline lake water, which is rich in carbonates. The calcium and carbonate combine, precipitating out as limestone. Over many years, a tower forms around the mouth of the spring. This tufa-forming reaction happens only in the lake itself. As the lake level drops and exposes the tufa towers, they cease to grow.
There is so much to do and see near the little town of Lee Vining that our scheduled week stay may prove to be insufficient. But we plan to get busy early each day this week and fit in as much as possible.
More on that later . . .