The State of California has diverse landscapes featuring coastline, mountains and desert country. Especially the scenes in the desert couldn’t be more interesting. While most people connect the desert with sand dunes up to the horizon, there is much more to a desert. Sometimes you can even find water inside the desert. Like at Mono Lake. A desert lake that has been formed thousands of years ago as a terminal lake and is today a very productive ecosystem.
Mono Lake does not have an outlet of water which causes the high salt levels in its waters. Due to a lot of evaporation the water in the lake is very alkaline. Such a concentrate on salt lets brine shrimp thrive. The area is home to about two million migratory birds which feed on those shrimp and other flies living in the shallow waters. The lake became an important point for shorebirds in the western hemisphere and environmentalists achieved an agreement where Los Angeles isn’t allowed to take out too much water from the feeding streams of the lake. 35 species of shorebirds are living next to the huge numbers of migratory birds around the lake.
Therefore, Mono Lake became an attractive destination for bird watchers who can find different species of birds throughout the year around the lake.
The lake occupies part of the Mono Basin which is an endorheic basin without an outlet of water leading into the ocean. Other features of the landscape are limestone towers that rise high above the surface of the lake. Named as Tufa Towers, this specific limestone is rich in calcium carbonate.
Popular activities in and around the lake are not just bird-watching, but hiking and kayaking as well. Interesting trails lead around the lake offering great views of the water and its limestone towers. Swimming on the lake is possible which will make you float like a cork on the salty water. The landscape is obviously also a popular photographic scene for hobby photographers.
Campgrounds are found outside of the immediate Mono Lake area while dispersed camping is allowed in the Mono Basin National Forest Area. Permits for campfires can be bought at the visitors center.
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