Monday was a hike-free day. We did a road trip to see some of the sites in Eastern California. We started the day with a drive up to the Minaret Vista. The it was off to Hwy395. We turned off and did the loop to June Lake. So much sleepier area than Mammoth.
It was on to Mono Lake. I have never seen the tufa foundations close up so we decided to go to the visitors center on the south shore of the lake. It was very interesting. There was an intrepretive trail from the center to the shore. Along the way, it showed how far the lake had receeded. The level of the lake is falling due to the diversion of water from the Owens Valley to LA. It was also very cool to see the brine shrimp and alkaline flies which are native. Amazing example of adaption.
Next it was off to Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park. But first a stop at lunch. I had found the Whoa Nellie Deli on the web and just had to try it. I couldn't believe that there would be a gourmet restaurant in a gas mart. But there was. It was actually very good. G had a grilled vegetable burger which was grilled vegetables on a bun. I had the lobster taquitos which was a bit disappointing. I didn't expect them to also have regular taco meat in addition to bits of lobster. Plus they were deep fried and crisp. The sides were excellent. I had a ginger colslaw and G had some excellent fries.
We drove into the park as far as Olmstead Vista above Lake Tenaya. We were actually quite disappointed in the park. It was very crowded especially around Tuolumne Meadows. Most of the trailheads were lined with cars. Olmstead Vista was nice. We had a chance to walk a short distance away and got away from the crowds. It was a little hazy because of there were two small forest fires burning between Tuolumne Meadows and the Valley but still pretty inspiring vistas.
It seemed to take no time to get back to Mammoth. We had a light dinner in the condo and then went out for a drive around the Mammoth lake area and watched the sun turn the mountains a golden hue.