July Fourth Weekend Photo Road Trip to the Eastern Sierra Nevada: The Dismal Side of the Sierras, Part 2
Bridgeport, CA; Mono Lake; Lee Vining
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
After finishing work and taking a two hour nap Wednesday evening, I reset the odometer on my car and departed Mountain View at 20:30 Wednesday night. By leaving late, I hoped to miss the holiday traffic, wishful thinking of course. Delayed by the congestion, I drove for about 6 hours, crossing the Sierras at Sonora Pass on Rt. 108 at approximately 01:00 Thursday morning. This isolated road is not particularly fun to drive in the dead of night. It is extremely windy, narrow, strewn with rock debris, and 26% road grades on both sides of its peak. I kept it in 2nd gear in these stretches. One hour after crossing the pass, I was driving through Bridgeport, CA and decided called it a night, so I pulled off at Green Creek Rd and took a rest. The 2AM sky here was clear and bursting with stars. I knew this was going to be a worthwhile trip!
Thursday, July 4, 2013
I woke up at 05:00 when farm vehicles rumbled past me on the gravel road. I felt awake and refreshed. In the twilight of dawn, I took in the scenery of the Hoover Wilderness to the west of me and felt even more invigorated. I ate an apple, brushed my teeth, and was on the road by 05:30. Mono Lake was my first destination. On my approach I stopped at some of the vista points along 395 and arrived to the lake at 06:15. Already too late for sunrise, I stopped first at Old Marina and watched the California Gulls dance in the mud to catch Alkali Flies. But having missed sunrise, I mostly took the morning easy. Had breakfast at Nicely’s in Lee Vining and went on the morning ranger walk at the South Tufa Area. Now with a deeper appreciation of the lake, I began to scout positions for the evening’s photography session….
Next up – Ghost Towns + scouting Mono Lake