Alabama Hills, Mammoth Lakes & Mono Lake

After our Death Valley adventure, Tom and I took three days to return to San Francisco. The first night, we stayed at Lone Pine, CA and went to the Lone Pine Film History Museum there. In the morning, we went to the Alabama Hills, the site of many cowboy movies of Tom's childhood and young adulthood, where we hiked and imagined good guys and bad guys behind every rock. The terrain, with a jumble of rounded hills and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada in the background, was irresistable to movie directors.


We stopped for lunch at Mammoth Lakes ski resort, still covered - somewhat - by snow.

The afternoon found us at Mono Lake, which is a success story of advocacy. In 1941, Los Angeles took water from its tributary streams to slake the thirst of a burgeoning population. Mono Lake shrank 31% of its area (in 1982 compared to 1941), endangering wildlife and the environment. A couple, David and Sally Gaines, decided to become "the voice of Mono Lake". They teamed up with the Audubon Society and sued L.A.'s Department of Water and Power. Jointly, the adversaries decided on a plan to permit LA to get its water and for Mono Lake to regenerate. Today, the lake has recovered somewhat, but it has not reached the "lake management target" which was posited in the court settlement. It continues to ask for your help. (Click Mono Lake and the Audubon Society for more information about the lake and the lawsuit.)


We spent the night in Placerville and the next day started our trip home via famous Route 49. This road winds its way through the gold mining region and passes by Sutter's Mill, near Coloma, where the gold rush first started. We joined I-80 at Auburn for the final leg to San Francisco. All in all, a wonderful trip!