Mono Lake

Last summer I set off for my very first trip to the USA. I have been around a fair bit, but somehow I had never set my foot in the land of the free, it was just about time to do it.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do and to see, but I don’t like planning too much, so I had quite a random time out there, especially because I rented a car, so I depended only on my stamina at driving and my slight tendency to get lost at times…

Well, to cut a long story short I ended up spending a couple of nights in a hotel on Mammoth Mountain near Mono Lake, which I hadn’t even known existed before seeing it on the map.

After a long day out trekking in the mountains, hearing the roar of bears in the distance and suddenly remembering I was carrying jerk beef in the backpack, I decided I wanted to see the lake.

I had read that it is the last vestige of volcanic activity in the area and, since it has no outlet, its water is very alkaline and saline – a bit like the Dead Sea. Worth seeing, isn’t it? On top of that, unique wildlife lives there, such as alkali flies, a special brine shrimp which is the food of the migrating birds nesting on the island in the lake, and even bacteria that can metabolise arsenic. I didn’t see any of that, but still the memories will stay with me forever.

I went there to have a look at the tufa towers, the limestone formations typical of the lake.

When I arrived the sun was setting in a perfectly clear dark blue sky, there were only a handful of people around, the plain was huge around us, surrounded by the Sierra. It was so magical, so beautiful, that it didn’t even seem real. While I was there I kept thinking that I wanted to stay a while, but it all was so short that it seems like a dream now. I think I will never go back, as it will never live up to that moment – a bit like a good love story, there’s no going back for seconds.

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