|Spectacular Eastern Sierra in Eastern California
Part 2: from Mammoth Lake to Lake Tahoe
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Another view from east shore of Lake Tahoe with snow caped mountains.
We stayed in a motel in South Lake Tahoe for the night of April 29, 2012. The hotel manager told us that last
year on April 29, 2011, there were 4 feet of snow on the ground in Lake Tahoe area. We were lucky in that
there were no snow on the ground in this week in 2012 while we were touring Eastern Sierra. This winter and
spring in 2012 had been exceptionally warm such that we could tour the Eastern Sierra in April without snow
closure on most of the roads. On the other hand, there were still lots of snow on the high mountain peaks such
that Eastern Sierra mountains with snow caps look very beautiful and picturesque in April 2012.
太浩湖 幽深秀麗碧藍的翡翠灣，一灣碧水微泛漣漪，湖中小船悠悠，小島婷婷玉立， 四
Fantastic view of beautiful Emerald Bay (翡翠灣 ) on southwest shore of Lake Tahoe in eastern California,
USA as viewed from Emerald Bay Overlook near the Parking Lot for Emerald Bay State Park. Gazing at the
impossibly blue body of water, the air is crisp and clean, the sun warm, the sky a deep blue. Emerald Bay with
brilliant blue water is one of Lake Tahoe's most photographed and popular locations. We arrived at Emerald
Bay in the afternoon of April 29, 2012.
The parking lot for Emerald Bay State Park is located at 138 Emerald Bay Rd (i.e. Hwy 89), South Lake
Tahoe, CA 96150
Map: Click here to see an interactive Google Map showing location of parking lot of Emerald Bay State Park
in Lake Tahoe
Another awesome view of the magnificent Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe. In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated
a National Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier carved
Amazing view in the afternoon from eastern shore of the sun-splashed Lake Tahoe.
Crystal clear water in Lake Tahoe which is one of the purest lakes in the world.
Gorgeous view from north shore of Lake Tahoe walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered
three thousand feet above the blue water which is 6,225 feet above sea level. Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of
its size in the United States.
Magnificent Tufa towers, Mono's Magnificent Monuments, on South Tufa grove at south shore of Mono Lake.
Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically,
underwater hot springs rich in super-saturated calcium mix with cool lake water rich in carbonates (the stuff in
baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs
resulting in calcium carbonate -- limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a
solid) around the underwater hot spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a Tufa tower will grow.
Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet.
The reason visitors see so much Tufa towers around Mono Lake above water today is because the lake
water level fell dramatically after water diversions by California Aqueduct began in 1941.
Many trouts in the ponds in Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery
When that fish feeding truck sprayed the fish food into the fish pond, all those trouts in the pond went into a
feeding frenzy such that the water surface looks like boiling.
Both Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery and Hot Creek Geologic Site are on the same unpaved pebble road of
Hot Creek Hatchery Road on the east side of U S 395. To reach this road, from junction of U S 395 and
Benton Crossing Road near Crowley Lake, take U S 395 northwest for about 2 miles, then turn right (east)
into Hot Creek Road. Then follow the sign on Hot Creek Road. (Near the small Mammoth-Yosemite Airport
and 3.5 miles south of the junction of U S 395 and Highway 203.)
The magnificent Eagle Falls near Emerald Bay Overlook. Waterfalls roar and streams dance and splash. The
stream originates from the Eagle Lake about one mile to the west.
The frozen Tioga Lake along Tioga Pass Road.
We kept going up for several miles until we reached a road blockade with a sign of "Road Closed" probably
near the Tioga Pass. April is still too early to try to go through the entire Tioga Pass Road. So, we turned back
down to Lee Vining/Mono Lake to tour other parts of Eastern Sierra.
Zoom in on the Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe, and the Tea House on the top in Emerald Bay.
Gazing at Lake Tahoe with brilliant blue water from west shore.
After touring Emerald Bay, we drove around Lake Tahoe to enjoy more beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, which
is the largest alpine lake in North America and one of the most blue pristine lakes in California.
While driving around Lake Tahoe, we noticed this very special lake front Kaiser Estate with the name of "Fleur
Du Lac" located on Lake Tahoe's magical West Shore. Initially, this Estate was created in 1938 as an
exclusive hideaway for Henry J. Kaiser and the heads of the other five companies who joined forces to build
the Hoover Dam:
Morrison-Knudsen Co. -- (Built the Trans Alaskan Pipeline)
Utah Construction -- (Merged with GE in 1976)
J.F. Shea Co. -- (Built the Golden Gate Bridge)
Pacific Bridge Company -- (Built the Tacoma Narrows Bridge)
MacDonald & Kahn Ltd.
It was built for the big celebrating party of the completion of the construction of the huge Hoover Dam on
Colorado River. More details about this very special lake front estate can be seen at the following YouTube
movies and its associated commentaries at:
More Tufa towers in South Tufa grove.
Map: Click here to see a local map of Mono Lake area.
To reach South Tufa grove: From Lee Vining, take U S 395 south for 5 miles, then turn left (east) into Highway
120 East and go east for 5 miles, then turn left (north) at the sign of South Tufa/Navy Beach. Then travel north
1 mile on this unpaved road to the parking lot of South Tufa grove.
There is a one-mile loop trail for visitors to go near the shoreline to see these Tufa towers.
An osprey (fish hawk) built a nest on the top of a Tufa tower in south Tufa grove..
Four of many waterfowl on Mono Lake.
Many gulls nesting on one of several Tufa islands in Mono Lake. It is surprising to me to see many "seagulls" in
this inland area of mountains and deserts. I learned that California gulls depend upon Mono Lake to offer safe
nesting areas to hatch their eggs and to raise their babies. Each spring about 50,000 gulls (approximately 85
percent of the California breeding population of gulls) fly to Mono Lake to mate, to lay eggs and to raise their
babies. While at Mono Lake, they feast on billions of brine shrimps in Mono Lake and on billions of Alkali flies
along lake shoreline. These gulls actually have to wash themselves off and drink fresh water at the freshwater
inlets after feeding because of the high mineral content of the water in Mono Lake.
Movie clips of interesting behavior of gulls chasing and eating big swarm of Alkali flies along shoreline of Mono
Lake can be seen in the following YouTube website:
Late August to Ocotber is the best time for brid watcher to visit Mono Lake when millions of migratory birds
stop at Mono Lake to feast on billions of brine shrimps and billions of Alkali flies. Please see the following
website for more details:
Many swallows are flying around and nesting on this Tufa tower at the north shore of Mono Lake near Mono
Lake (County) Park.
Swallows nesting on the Tufa tower.
Swallows also built many nests on the Visitor Center of Mono Lake.
A board walk trail from Mono Lake (County) Park to the north shoreline of Mono Lake.
To reach Mono Lake (County) Park, from Lee Vining go north on U S 395 for 4.5 miles, then turn right (East)
onto Cemetery Road. Head down the hill on Cemetery Road for a short distance to the County Park parking
lot on the right. (See the local map of Mono Lake listed above.)
Panum Crater near Mono Lake. When one drives on Highway 120 East to the parking lot of South Tufa grove,
one can see Panum Crater on the left (north) side and several cinder cone craters on the right (south) side.
These volcanic craters indicate that Mono Lake area is in a volcanic region such that there are underwater hot
springs in Mono Lake creating those Tufa towers.
Steaming pools of hot spring at Hot Creek Geologic Site.
Warning sign of scalding water at the Hot Creek Geologic Site.
Broader view of Hot Creek and Hot Spring pools at the Hot Creek Geologic Site. From the parking area, you
can walk down the gorge to view a fascinating variety of mud pots, hot springs/pools, and fumaroles. This is
just one of many hot springs in this area.
This truck came out to feed the fish by shooting/spraying out fish food into the fish pond from a metal pipe on
the right side of this truck.
Many seagulls also join the party of feeding frenzy when the feeding truck was spraying fish food into the fish
This is one of the three fish hatcheries near U S 385 when we were touring Eastern Sierra.
At Lee Vining, we also drove west onto the famous Tioga Pass Road (i.e., Highway 120 West) along Lee
Vining Canyon which is a spectacular glacial canyon leading to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park.
This is the highest paved route in California. This road climbs through the steep canyon, affording incredible
views of the rugged landscape. It has several pullouts for visitors to enjoy the fantastic views.
Scenery along Tioga Pass Road
A section of the winding Tioga Pass Road climbing up the canyon.
A magnificent horsetail waterfalls on the June Lake Loop ( Highway 158) which is known as "Switzerland of
California" because the community is built on hills and meadows in this subalpine valley surrounded by beautiful
high mountain peaks. It is a few miles southwest of Mono Lake. I also took a movie clip of this beautiful
horsetail waterfalls in action as shown on the YouTube website at:
Gondola and chairlift on Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort Area. The gondola climbs up Mammoth's Summit to
11,053-ft. The address is 1 Minaret Road (Route 203) Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. To reach Gondola for
summit of Mammoth Mountain, from US 395 turn west into Hwy 203.
This map shows that Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is huge and a fabulous place to ski with many ski runs and
People fishing in Silver Lake in June Lake Loop.
Devil's Gate along U S 395.
Magnificent snow capped Eastern Sierra mountains along U S 395 all the way. It is as continuously stunning as
the Pacific Coast Highway, with jagged 14,000-foot pinnacles of the Sierra to the west and the arid 11,000-
foot Inyo and White mountains to the east. It was a very enjoyable drive.
Sierra Nevada in eastern California:
California's Sierra Mountain is usually called Sierra Nevada. "Sierra" in Spanish means Saw or Mountain
Range. "Nevada" in Spanish means snowfall. Indeed "Sierra Nevada" in Spanish describes very well the snow
capped mountain range in eastern California as shown in this picture.
Part 1 of the tour of Eastern Sierra is at the following web page:
A picture of me (Sing Lin) along Tioga
Pass Road. This picture was taken by
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on my
web page at: