Lee Vining: Among Millions of Flies at Mono Lake

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, September 6, 2012

My friend Thinh and I took a break from Yosemite National Park and visited Mono Lake in Lee Vining, CA. This is the only place on Earth where I saw literally millions of black flies and none of them bothered me. They were busy feeding on salt and avoiding the pecking beaks of the birds. Much of the fresh water had been used by the agricultural industry during the first two-third of the 20th Century to sustain American food export during a time when the world needed to be nourished. As a result of this overuse, the lake could no longer sustain life; at 2.5 times the salt level of the ocean, nothing but brine shrimp could survive in such a harsh environment. Towers of calcium carbonate called “tufas” protrude out of the lake giving the area its signature eerie look of being in an alien world.

At the intersection of Tioga Road (Route 120) and California Route 395, there is a Mobile Gas Station that you MUST stop by to have lunch.  We didn't expect to find great food at a gas station! They cooked it quick and hot for you...the serving is too big a portion for one person to finish so order with care.  We went there twice and enjoy a delicious rib and yummy desserts. I'd definitely go there again for lunch or dinner.  I've to mention one other thing: there is a woman (perhaps in her 30s) working there at the checkout counter who was EXTREMELY helpful to us. We didn't know Lee Vining has very little lodging accommodation option so out of the goodness of her heart she took time to call to these places for us. Through her, we found a hotel at June Lake, CA. It was sufficient. I went back to the gas station to tip her the next day but she was off work; she was expecting so I figured she had a doctor's appointment. Some people go out of their way to help travelers...they should be rewarded.


Knight,
June Lake, California
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