After breakfast on Thursday our large group disbanded for good. Five of us started out through the western end
of the main valley, then took Tioga Road northeastward. This scenic route rises to Tioga Pass, then drops
precipitously (mind the brakes) down the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada range. This brought us to Lee Vining,
a picturesque small town where we lunched at the delightful Latte Da coffeeshop (excellent sandwiches, pastries,
and espresso!). From there Highway 395 led us south to Lone Pine, where, due to our earlier frequent stops for the
many locations of exceptional visual and/or historical interest, it was time to find a motel and dinner.
Looking west from Tioga Road as it rises out of the Yosemite Valley, showing an area
recovering from the Rim Fire of 2013.
Half Dome from above--taken from Olmsted Point high up on Tioga Road.
Tioga Lake, the surface of which attests to its high altitude of 9,638 feet.
Tioga is a Native American name, but this lake is named after Tioga County, New York.
Tenaya Lake, another pristine alpine glacial waterhole, but only at 8,150 feet.
Brad is taking advantage of the tempting photo opportunity.
Tuolumne Meadows (a mere 8,619 feet in altitude).
Tioga Pass is a recognized engineering marvel, for reasons explained in this
more-than-usually-informative roadside plaque.
Marcus, Brad, Beth, and Anne watching a squirrel at the Tioga Pass overlook,
before we take the plunge down the steep slope to Lee Vining.
Mono Lake, one of the most mineral-rich lakes in the world, because it exists in a closed basin
surrounded by soft alkaline sediments. The pH of the lake water is extremely basic at 10.
In 1890 Mark Twain camped there and was not complimentary, calling it a "lifeless, treeless,
hideous desert". He was one-third correct. The landscape's striking variations in texture
and color, including one black and one white island, make it a visual treat.
The mineral content in Mono Lake water supports a high algae content, which in turn supports
thick concentrations of brine shrimp and swarms of alkali flies, which in turn attract
millions of birds, including seagulls which return from the ocean every year to breed.
One of the reconstructed barracks at Manzanar, in the shadow of Mount Whitney, where around
11,000 Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II.
The remains of "Pleasure Park", one of several Japanese-style gardens constructed by the people
living at Manzanar. The park once had flowing water pumped through the cement-lined ponds.
The National Park Service is reconstructing some of these gardens as a tribute to those who lived
and worked in the camp.
The pictures of this trip are divided into several sets: