So, it turns out that I’m staying in a ski town! I thought the name rung a faint bell but I didn’t recognise it, but it’s impossible to miss now that I’m here.
I’m pretty tired – not sure if it’s the heat, CFS, jetlag or the altitude (almost 2400m) but I’m taking it a bit slow today. I’ve decided to stay here another night – I couldn’t face having to load and unload the car YET AGAIN. Especially up in the mountains. Most hotels in other places I’m just pulling a few things inside that I need or that need to be secure – basic clothes and toiletries, electronics and my passport. Everything else can take its chances in the car.
But up here you can’t leave food or anything that smells like food in the car because it attracts bears. They’ve been known to do this. And of course apart from destroying the car and contents, it’s bad for the bears, too. So that means my esky, cutlery, plate, snacks, etc. all have to come inside. Plus ALL my medications, toiletries, etc, since the scents in those are attractive too. Which altogether is just a hassle.
After a good sleep in this morning I headed out to Mono Lake – a very salty, alkaline lake with no outlet. Because of the quality of the water the chemical reactions grow calcium carbonate towers called tufas.
As the photographers among you know the middle of the day isn’t the best time to take photos – the light is very harsh and coming from straight above – not flattering to anything, especially out here in what’s effectively desert. I wandered around the visitor’s centre, bought an annual pass to the national parks, and looked at a photography exhibition, including a couple of actual Ansel Adams prints.
So I headed off to Bodie first – a ghost town about an hour up the road. It was an old gold mining town with its heyday in the mid 1800s. It finally died out altogether in the 1940s. Sometime since then the government decided to keep it in an “as is” condition – they’re not letting it deteriorate, but not “fixing” anything, either.
And that includes the interiors, which are apparently as the residents left them, including whatever they chose (or were forced) to leave behind them.
I spent about an hour there – I could easily have stayed longer but Bertha wasn’t coping well with the rough dirt “roads” through the town – no pavements here! And I wanted to get back to Mono Lake for sunset. Which I just managed, but I didn’t leave myself enough time for the earlier good light, and it wasn’t a terribly spectacular sunset (often the towers glow with spectacular colours).
And one more photo from Bodie for good measure: