Friday, October 1, 2010

The Best Boondocking Spot Ever

Well, maybe not the best ever, but pretty darn good! This is the view out the window, that's Mono Lake down there, near Lee Vining, CA.

Here's the view from the Mono Lake Vista Point at the junction of 395 and 120 West.

Mono Lake is famous for its "Tufa" towers, formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. They were originally underwater, but the water level dropped dramatically when water was diverted in 1941 to provide for the growing city of Los Angeles. By 1982 the situation was critical, but since then the diversion had been controlled, and the water level is slowly rising.

80 percent of the state's California gull population, up to 60,000 birds, return here each year to nest on the island in the lake.

The entrance to the upper part of Yosemite National Park is just west of Lee Vining, so some exploring was in order. Ellery Lake is just outside the park, and right along the road - an easy shot.

Tuolumne Meadows, with Lembert Dome in the background, is a great place to take a little walk.

I walked up to May Lake, a short but steep hike. That's Mount Hoffmann in the background.

Another shot along the road.

The largest lake along the road is Tenaya Lake.

And this is the view from Olmstead Point. That little bump in the middle is the back of Half Dome, 5 miles away. A sign said that with binoculars, you may be able to see the hikers going up to the top along the cables.

Well, I think my camera is better than binoculars any old day. I didn't have my 20X camera with me, but this was taken with my Canon SX110is, a 10X optical zoom. Can you see the hikers?

Here it is cropped. This hike is so popular that you have to get a permit to go on weekends or holidays. They issue 400 permits a day, and people still get turned away.


  1. I left my favorite pillow at a motel in Lee Vinning--but that was in 1998!
    SUPER photos in this post...the one of May Lake has an aswesome refelction..great pano..and I dont know if doing that climb on the Half Dome is on your bucket list, but I dont think I'll be adding it to mine..;o)~
    HAPPY travels!

  2. I had friends who hiked Half Dome this past July; it was 2 dads and their 4 sons. They had a great time and enjoyed some quality family time on the trail and on the road. I had never seen the hikers going up the chains. I think it is probably beyond my capacity although I would have loved to accomplished it.

    I guess the red arrow is your boondocking site? Spectacular!

  3. Wow! What a spectacular front yard you have! That hiking picture conjurred up memories of the Gold Rush guys hiking out of Skagway, Alaska. The Camping World parking lot can't compare with your view! :)

  4. You are in one of my favorite areas of the country! I love Yosemite and the outlying areas, even if they are grossly overcrowded at times. The scenery is just so iconic. Enjoy your time there!

  5. The Yosemite area is one of my favorites, we used to tent camp there for vacations when I was a kid. Much less crowded then, we drove to our site and the car stayed with us.
    We hiked, but I'm sure we didn't do Half Dome. That cropped photo is incredible, looks like they should fall off. Great post!

  6. Another great boondocking site; what a site to return to after exploring the great places nearby.

  7. Wow I think I would have to skip that hike LOL I would say that is a tad steep. The pictures are just breathtaking it is so beautiful out there I sure hope I get to see it before I die. Hope you are having a good weekend.

  8. No thanks on that climb. That's no hike, that's an elevation. I'll stick to the water.

  9. That's a lot of hikers! I remember Tuolumne Meadows, but not all those other fabulous views.

  10. Thats a lot of hikers! Great shots. Gonna have to get up there one of these days.

  11. So I want to go to this spot in a couple weeks ... I am CC .. so I take 395 to 120 & go east?? And then the north side of the road? Easy to find? Any markers to look for? Any problems with a MH & tow that can't be backed up? I am looking forward to seeing some of the places you saw while in the area .. your photos inspired me to check it all out. :-)


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