On Sunday we hiked the rim trail of the Panum Crater, the youngest of the 20-30 volcanic cones to the south of Mono Lake, which are themselves the youngest mountains in the US.
It is just a baby Rhyolitic Plug-Dome Volcano, having had its last erruption only 650 years ago.
Much of the hike was quite easy, along a loose gravel path that ran along the top edge of the outer ring of the crater. The air was crystal clear and the day was pleasantly warm. To the west we had a beautiful view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains.
As we came around towards the lakeside edge of the rim we had a bird's eye view of Mono Lake. Friday it looked blue. Saturday it looked green. From this vantage point on Sunday, it looked both blue and green!
We could see the tufa that we visited the day before. Because the day was quite windy, a white line of breaking waves appeared along the top line of submerged tufa further out in the lake.
At this point we are about halfway around the rim, and the Sierras are coming back into view.
The lava in the center of the cone looked as if it had just cooled and crumbled last week.
But at the same time, there were a few trees bravely growing at the top. The ground on the outer rim was covered with sage brush, pink pear, and other desert plants.
Although most of the hike was easy, there were a couple of rather steep climbs. We both were puffing from this exercise in the altitude.
|The gravel road we drove in on and the parking lot|
As always, the best view of any hike is the sighting of the parking lot below and our faithful Jeep waiting to carry us home.
When I planned our route north this year, I hoped to be able to get diesel fuel for the Alfa in Nevada. We filled her in Las Vegas and will top off in Reno as we travel up 395. We did have to get gas for the Jeep today. There are two stations in Lee Vining. This was the more expensive. We went down the block and only paid $4.49.
I have always noticed much higher prices near the entrances to National parks. The east entrance to Yosemite is quite near. I just checked Gas Buddy and Regular is $3.39 in San Diego and $3.25 in Reno.
But we are here and want to tour some tomorrow, so we bought 5 gallons.