yosemite by bike and mono lake

yosemite_mono_lake-2yosemite_mono_lake-1yosemite_mono_lake-3yosemite_mono_lake-7yosemite_mono_lake-6yosemite_mono_lake-5yosemite_mono_lake-10yosemite_mono_lake-9yosemite_mono_lake-8yosemite_mono_lake-13yosemite_mono_lake-15yosemite_mono_lake-14yosemite_mono_lake-19yosemite_mono_lake-18yosemite_mono_lake-25yosemite_mono_lake-26yosemite_mono_lake-27yosemite_mono_lake-29yosemite_mono_lake-21yosemite_mono_lake-31yosemite_mono_lake-24yosemite_mono_lake-23Look at us, already nearly through July. It’s still summer and summer is for adventures. The whole year is for adventures!

We had big ideas about going on a longer trip over the 4th of July weekend but delayed planning until the last minute. Amazingly, we found an opening at housekeeping camp in Yosemite. Though we’ve visited the park several times this year, we have yet to stay in the valley together. After our recent Ojai bike ride we really wanted to bring our bikes to Yosemite. There are about 12 miles of bike trails around the valley which means you get to explore more without getting in a car. This was amazing on a crowded weekend like the one we visited where the notorious traffic jams clogged up the loop around the valley floor. While visitors in cars sat waiting, we were able to fly by.

On previous visits we sought to avoid crowded spaces in search of more secluded trails. Summer is different though. There is a distinctly camp vibe around the whole place: families gathered around campfires, everyone playing in the rivers. It didn’t feel as touristy, I’m sure in part because we were edging around particular view points on our bikes, but also because people were really enjoying the nature around them. Visitors seemed settled, rather than just stopping in. In housekeeping camp, large groups set up compounds at their rental sites, stringing lights together and setting up rings of chairs around fire pits. I imagine it must be great to spend a whole week with friends, biking around, grilling and swimming.

The following day we drove over Tioga Pass, the road to the Eastern Sierras. This road is closed for a good portion of the year due to snow, so it was exciting to finally get to drive across. We passed through Tuolumne Meadows and enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery.

Once on the other side, we made a stop at Mono Lake. I had wanted to go swimming because it had been so warm out and Mono Lake seemed like an ideal spot with its high salinity. I dreamed of floating in the lake until we arrived. Unfortunately I forgot to bring sandals and the floor of the lake was too rough to walk on without them. I’ll know for next time. It’s a beautiful and surreal place. The tufa towers you see were only exposed in the 80’s when the water level dropped due to tributary water being redirected to Los Angeles. The lake only became protected in 1992 and it has been rising since, though not to previous levels entirely.

We also made a stop at Devil’s Postpile near Mammoth Lakes. I wish we had more time to explore, but it was still cool to see. I personally enjoyed the bus ride to the site, where I got to listen to various backpackers talk about their travels.

As the sun set and we made our way back home, I asked Shawn to pull over so I could try to take a photo of Mt. Whitney. Though my photo was questionable, we decided that there was no time like the present to make some dinner. We dug out our stoves and made some ramen on the side of the road. It was perfect, particularly since there wasn’t anywhere else for us to stop to get food. Some cows came to see what we were up to, then just went about their business.

most photos by Shawn Bannon, except the oddly shaped ones

6 Responses to “yosemite by bike and mono lake”
  1. Erin says:

    Oh Alix. I want to go there so badly. Your stories make it feel so much closer!

  2. Amber says:

    I agree with Erin!! So beautiful. I want to go!

  3. ¡Yo Soy Liz! says:

    These are all such great pics! I love how the water in Yosemite is always so clear. We stopped by Mono Lake in the winter once when we were skiing in Mammoth but it was very anti-climactic because everything was covered in snow and ice–we probably should have realized that before driving out there!

  4. lau says:

    gosh, this is all just so lovely. makes me want to move to california!

  5. lyn says:

    So stunning. Wow.

  6. I am having serious travel envy! That place is so beautiful and looks so peaceful. Wish I had places like that on Long Island haha!

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