05/08/21 Today we explored the actual lake area which is only a few miles from the campground. Mono Lake is three times as salty as the ocean and the salts and baking soda make it very alkaline and create tufa structures near the shores. This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp and alkali flies which thrive in its waters and provides critical habitat for more than 2 million annual migratory birds that feed on them. At sunset, Patti and I drove to another lake site to see more beautiful examples of tufa. (See the extra photos.)
We also drove the scenic routes around June Mountain and Mammoth Mountain. Beautiful as you would expect it to be. I learned to ski at Mammoth and have many fond memories of driving the 6 hours from Los Angeles for many, many ski weekends. Mammoth is still open for skiing for a couple of more weeks. There were hundreds of cars parked on the road up to the resort. Mammoth peak is at 11,053 feet. New buildings everywhere but a few old ones still were there. We had a great lunch at the Yodler and walked through the old Main Lodge which is now an inn. For my baseball cap collection, I bought one with the original logo for an outrageous price.