Mono Lake is saltier than an ocean and more litigated over than a prenuptial contract in Las Vegas. Although large and majestic now, it was even more so in 1941 when the City of Las Angeles began diverting its source water for its own uses. The lake shrunk and shrunk and shrunk which was a bad thing for the millions of birds that use this lake as a refueling stop. Concerned citizens sued the thirsty city and the issue of what constitutes a healthy lake level was left to the court to decide. Eventually an agreement was reached and LA is now committed to restoring Mono Lake to a water level less than in 1941, but considerably more so than now. Short hikes around the lake now mark an inland area as the assumed future shore line. Besides the legal background, the lake is also fascinating for being partly spring fed which results in “tufa” formations (kind of like sea stacks). Due to the retreat of the lake, many of the tufa stacks are now on land and are thus easy to touch and look at closely.
On our last full day at Mammoth Lakes, we also explored two other lakes (June and Gull). Gull is like a big swimming pool stocked with trout. We took a paddle boat out and I spent a good deal of time with my feet in the water as Corey and Henna peddled me around the lake. We then went to the much more crowded and colder June Lake where Henna and I withstood a few quick dunks in. Later that day we took showers, did laundry, and ate out. The waitress messed up Corey order (the second time this has happened this trip). Henna had a play date that night with neighbors that night and I talked road trips and education with that girl’s older sister and boyfriend. After a good night sleep I was ready this morning to stock up on groceries and head to Yosemite where I now sit waiting for the charcoals to get hot so we can have portabella mushrooms for dinner.