Michael, always eager for an extra hike, took off up the moraine early this morning. This is the view from the top, with SNARL spanning the middle of the frame and the Mammoth-Yosemite airport beyond.
A closer-up view of SNARL. The farthest building to the right is our dorm.
Michael surprised a few deer grazing in their breakfast nook.
Mt Morrison towers over the moraine.
Our host for the Mono Lake tour is Dave Marquart.
Dave tells the class about the most prominent types of vegetation in the Great Basin.
The song of the Brewer's Sparrow sounds like the old variable car alarm systems, and Dave can replicate it perfectly!
The latest theory on the formation of these tufa towers claims that the features are less than 100 years old and heavily influenced by heavy irrigation used to provide grazing land for sheep.
An unfortunate tourist is dragged into the brush by a hungry tufa tower!
Dave demonstrates how the tufa forms--a combination of the high concentrations of calcium in the freshwater springs and carbonate in Mono Lake.
Livi picks out a nice juicy alkali fly pupa to taste.
Aaaaah, crunchy on the outside, soft and salty on the inside!
Jess views an osprey nesting on a tufa tower in Mono Lake.
Izzie is happy the sun is shining on this blustery day.
Dave handed out cups for the students to capture and observe the famous Mono Lake brine shrimp.
Did you know that phalaropes fly over 3,000 miles non-stop to Ecuador? Or that grebes always arrive after dark?
A warm freshwater spring bubbles up near the shore of Mono Lake.
Bartshe Miller, education director at the Mono Lake Committee, shares the story of the controversy over Los Angeles' diversion of several Mono Lake tributaries.
The class crosses the diversion structure at Lee Vining Creek.
The class learns about the Public Trust Doctrine and Mono Lake Committee's ongoing efforts to "preserve, educate, and restore."
The bucket brigade heads down from the visitor center.
Greg Reis, Information Specialist with the Mono Lake Committee tells the class the history of Lee Vining Creek. Virtually all the creek's water was diverted from 1947 to 1986, destroying the riparian habitat near the creek's mouth. Now that flow has been partially restored, the Committee is re-planting some of the native species, but they need to be watered for the first couple years as they get established.
Greg demonstrates proper watering technique.
Like kids at an Easter Egg Hunt, Lindsay, Gwen, and Ryan are ready to seek out thirsty Jeffrey Pine seedlings.
Blair and Jess brave the weather to help the trees.
Livi prepares her basin to accept a bucket of water.
Brittany and her new friend, Wilson. May he live long and prosper.
Brittany, Blair, Jess, and Cassie do the bucket dance in celebration of the trees they've saved.
The group enjoys hot drinks at Latte Da.
Jesse, pleased at the recovery of the tape measure that was left behind on the moraine on Day 7.
Gwen would like thank her cousin for the loan of his cocoon.