California (Hwy 395)

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Starting on Tuesday, September 24, 2002, 3:50:56 PM

On my way from Carson City I headed back down and into California again. I watched as the rain fell off in the distance and in the mountains to the west. 

The area here seemed to be at the foot of all these mountains in a valley but was still quite high in altitude.

I came across the little town of Bridgeport. This town was at an altitude of about 7,000 feet.

Then back down I ran across and dropped down the hill to Mono Lake. I thought the cloud formations here looked quite interesting as the rain was causing them to droop down towards the ground.

Mono Lake was nestled at the foot of the mountains there.

Although it seems like a dead lake, Mono Lake does support some life. Not very much but it has a very delicate living system. Tiny algae is food for the brine flies and shrimp which are eaten by birds. Bottom-dwelling bacteria decompose dead plants and animals into detritus that fertilizes the algae so the simple cycle continues. 

The white that you see in these pictures is actually called Tufa. Tufa forms underwater where freshwater calcium-bearing springs come up through the bottom of Mono Lake. Calcium chemically combines with carbonate-rich lake water to form calcium carbonate, or tufa. This solid material settles out, forming towers with the spring water pushing up inside them. The towers cease to grow as they are exposed to the air by the declining lake level.

So enough of that icky educational stuff and back on the road I go to Yosemite National Park.

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