For the second part of our trip, we explored the Eastern Sierra and went down on Highway 395, one of the most scenic drives in the US. Just after Tioga Pass, the eastern entrance to Yosemite Park, we reach Mono Lake, an alkaline and saline lake. This lake is unusual as it has no outlets to the ocean meaning that basicily water flows to it and evaporates. There are very high levels of salts that accumulates in the lake. The pH of the lake is around 10. Mono Lake is also a very important stop for migratory birds. Each year, million of birds use Mono Lake to stop, rest and eat.

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After visiting the lake, we head to our camp near Silver Lake with superb views of Carson Peak sitting at 10,000 feet (more than 3000 meters).


Not a bad place to camp! The only downside is that the temperature dropped to 30F (-1 C) during the night. A bit chilly!


Silver Lake

Eastern Sierra - Silver Lake

The next day, we explored the Eastern Sierra and decided to go and do a hike around Convict Lake. The name of the lake comes from its a colorful past: in 1871, a group of convicts escaped from a prison in Carson City. A shoot out happened at the tip of the lake at Convict Creek where several men died and the convicts were captured (source: wikipedia).

In the mountains above, a folded metamorphic rock formation called Sevehah Cliffs can be seen.

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After Convict Lake, we continue our exploration and start looking for some of the Hot springs that the area is famous for. These springs are scattered around and you can find water holes where you can enjoy what is basicly a hot bath with an amazing view. With some very vague indications found online, we manage to find one, virtually in the middle of nowhere.

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This is it. Hot bath with a very strong sulfur smell.

Eastern Sierra - Hot Springs

On our way back, we spot a mini dust tornado.



Flying cows in the Eastern Sierra?

We continue along the road and reach a small town called Bishop where we make a left and climb up into the mountains to visit a very special place: the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, where you can find trees that are as old as 4700 years! (no typo !!!) It means some of these trees were born at the time when the Egyptian pyramids were built. Some of the old living trees on Earth.


This trunk is from one of the trees at least 2000 years old. Each line (white lines) is one year.


This is what the old Bristlecone Pines look like.


After a while, looking at these Bristlecone Pines is like looking at clouds, you start to see faces.



At the top of the mountain, you can also find what looks like scattered black rocks. These are volcanic rocks that were actually at the bottom of the ocean and were crushed into pieces by the water pressure above.

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 This concludes the 2nd chapter of our trip. Next part: Death Valley & Las Vegas in the same day.