Posts Tagged ‘california gulls’

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” Wallace Stevens


Looking down on Mono Lake from the Highway 395 overlook. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

My trip back to Texas from my summer in Idaho was a hurried affair. Usually I plan on arriving for my winter rounds with family just in time for Thanksgiving But a grandson’s wedding, which takes place tonight, moved that up by about six weeks.

Even so, I managed to knock two things off my to-do list, now more popularly called a bucket list, on my way back to my native Lone Star State.

Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park now have check marks beside them. .

It may be easier for some of you to understand why Yosemite was a place I wanted to visit than it is to understand why Mono Lake was on my list. After all, it’s simply a shallow, very salty, often smelly lake As we neared the lake basin, My canine traveling companion, Maggie, perked up at the smell, wrinkling her nose a bit as she caught the scent. . I’m not sure what she was thinking.


California gulls along the shoreline -- Photo by Pat Bean

 The odorous shoreline, however,  reminded me of Great Salt Lake, a place whose beauty I came to greatly appreciate while living next door to it for 25 years.

The Utah lake is larger and much younger than the smaller and much older California lake. Both, however, are part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network that provides habitat for millions of migratory birds.

About the only species I saw on Mono Lake, however, was the California gull, which incidentally happens to be Utah’s state bird. It was given the honor after Mormon settlers in the Salt Lave Valley credited the gulls with saving their crops from a cricket infestation.

Neither lake has an outlet, and so remain the depository for everything that flows into them. Their importance to the ecosystem, however, has in recent years led to conservation practices engineered for their protection.

Mark Twain, in his “Roughing it,” called Mono Lake “a lifeless, treeless desert … the loneliest place on earth.”

I think otherwise.

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