Wish you were here! If this surreal landscape of azure skies, peaceful blue waters, and white rocky towers seems familiar, it is familiar. This is Mono Lake, and it was featured inside of Pink Floyd’s 1975, “Wish you were here” album cover. The Diver, which was a photo taken by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosissh, features what appears to be a man diving into a lake, and creating no ripples.
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve is located in eastern California, close to the Nevada border and NE of Yosemite National Park. I have visited this spectacular lake two times, and both times have been when I was vacationing at Yosemite. Mono Lake is not close to any large city, and it is quite remote. If you happen to be at Yosemite then it will make sense to add this place to your iteniary.
Mono Lake is a large body of water covering close to 65 miles. This ancient lake is over one million years old, and is one of the oldest lakes in North America without an outlet. The tufa towers in the lake are calcium-carbonate knobs and spires, that are formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline water. The tufas of Mono Lake are actually formed underwater, and can grow up to 30 feet tall.
This reserve was established to protect the exposed tufa towers after the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power diverted an excessive amount of water, starting in 1941. The lake water fell dramatically, and once above the waterline tufas can no longer grow, and are susceptible to erosion.
Visiting Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve– The Visitor Center is a great place to begin your visit. It includes the history of the basin, as well as excursion ideas of the local area. There are many activities at Mono Lake including bouyant swimming, which is due to the excessive salt content, and is quite popular. You can participate in guided walks, hiking, bird watching and canoeing, which we did on our second visit.
For more visitation information, please visit Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
— Photo Journal of Mono Lake —
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things…– Henry Miller
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