Thursday, October 05, 2006
Mono Lake is a place I've wanted to go ever since I was wee little, looking at old National Geographics, and dreaming. I thought I knew what to expect: salty, big, with cool rock formations. But actually being there, walking along the shoreline, took my breath away. It was one of the four "WOW" moments I had on the trip. I walked into the water for just a minute or two. The water felt slippery, and my feet and sandals were crusty with salt once they dried off! The salt collects in the lake because it has no outlet to the ocean. The rock towers are made of a material called tufa, which is rock deposited by springs. The tufa builds up until it breaks the surface of the water, and sometimes keeps going. Many of the towers are exposed because the city of Los Angeles (nearly 400 miles away!) drew off large amounts of water from the lake's tributaries for use as a drinking supply. Courts have now restricted how much water the city can take. It is amazing to me, an Easterner who gets tired of having so much rain in these dreary Tennessee winters, how important water is in most parts of the West.