Thursday, November 13, 2008
mono lake ca
I know this is not in order, it goes after Yosemite, but i got a bit delayed in writing.
I emerged on the far side of Yosemite national Park, thick with forest and huge, impressive scenery into a vast open valley of nothingness. The view stretched way, way into the distance, flat, brown and featureless, save an area of shimmering water low in the distance and even more distant mountains beyond. It took a good half an hour to reach any signs or indication of where i was heading too, the lake still far away.
There was a local settlement, once, presumably, on the shore of the lake and now probably a mile away. They called it a town, Lee Vining, with a small general store, a couple of touristy gift shops, a pub, restaurant, gas station and various motels. Quiet and with character, standing the test of time, relying on continued passing tourists for income.
The lake has seen better days, now four times saltier than the sea and devoid of almost any life. Even the ducks have difficulty staying upright in the over bouyant waters. The lake continued to disappear until a few years ago. Los Angeles is to blame, according to the story boards in the information/gift store. Tributaries diverted and ground water sucked up to the surface to supply the ever increasing demands of the massive conurbations and the huge swathes of irrigated agriculture along the coast.
Conservation efforts have reduced the lakes decline, political pressure forcing water to be sourced elsewhere and awareness of the environment brought to the attention of city dwellers hundreds of miles away. One person started the campaign, slowly spreading awareness and enlisting the help of others until their voice was so loud that congress was forced to take notice and instigate the change.
Whilst the water levels are low, curious chimney like structures are visible along part of the shore. They formed underwater over thousands of years. Mineral rich ground water welled up from below, combining with the waters of the lake, triggering a reaction that caused a soft rock to form around the vents. Over the years the process produced numerous vertical tubes. These are visible at the moment and are an impressive sight, especially when reflected in the mirror flat water just before sunset.
Hopefully, in the future, they will again become submerged and continue growing below the surface of Mono Lake.