Leaving the valley floor of Yosemite to cross the mountains to Mono Basin, requires a westerly assent to Crane Flat, where highway 120 takes a turn over the Sierra Nevada range. This road is open in summer but other times of year is weather dependent. I have long imagined what views lay before us and was not disappointed with what we found. Using The Photographers Guide to Yosemite book by Michael Frye I had in mind to stop by Tenaya lake for a few shots on our way to Mono Lake. As it turned out, the view of Tenaya lake above from the road just after Olmsted Point caught my eye and I had to stop.
The assent from Crane Flat at 6000 feet to 9400 before the descent to Mono Basin on the eastern side of the Sierras takes you across amazing granite and forest vistas. A Highlight of this drive is Toulumne Meadows. At this point in the journey I was however feeling lazy, and actually just took the image with my iPhone:-) There are lodgings in this area so I think it’s definitely worth a trip back just to explore this vast area.
I did manage to get some subdued lighting at mono lake in the morning, but the weather front was slow to clear meaning when the sun finally peeped out from behind the morning clouds it was already quite harsh. Driving back to Lee Vining after sunrise the vastness of the mountains in the distance and the starkness of Mono Basin caught my eye.
I was a bit disappointed with the light in Mono Basin, but tried to make the most of it. Next day we headed north along the 395 to Tahoe, taking the scenic route to South Lake Tahoe via route 89. More on Tahoe next post…