We found a waterfront park, closed for the season but accessible on foot. We trudged across the snow covered sand to the water's edge and watched the sun go down.
Carson City & Lake Topaz
The lake was half covered in thick ice with ice crystals sparkling in the bright morning sun.
The ice was so thick we even ventured out onto the lake, and felt like we could have walked further still!
Mono Lake & Lee Vining
Here the overnight fog had allowed ice crystals to gather on every tree branch and flora, creating an incredible winter wonderland.
We wandered around the cemetery, and imagined ourselves in Narnia.
After a brunch stop at the excellent Nicely's diner in Lee Vining, we drove round to the south side of the lake to see the Tufa. The road down to the water's edge was inaccessible, but we got close enough to see the tufa (salty stalagmite-like deposits rising from the lake), and even heard two coyotes howling in the distance. We could just make them out.
Inyo Forest, Mammoth and Owens Valley
We passed through the town of Bishop and were amazed by the view as the landscape opened out into the vast Owens Valley. This was one of those views impressive in its vastness to which a camera just cannot do justice. We had started to lose altitude now, and it was warm enough in the sunshine to build a mini-snowman and have a little snowball fight.
We drove further on as the snows began to disappear and be replaced by grasslands and then desert as we headed east on the 190 towards Death Valley... but that's a story for another travel bite!
All in all we spent probably 5 to 6 hours driving, plus lots of stops, and it was a drive I would recommend to anyone, particularly in this quiet winter period.
- 25-photo Eastern Sierra highlights set
- 73-photo detailed set of the Eastern Sierra
- 73-photo set of the whole road trip (of which this was just half of one day!)