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The Sierra Nevada – from the Lake Tahoe to the Mono Lake

The Sierra Nevada – from the Lake Tahoe to the Mono Lake

Except from the most famous National Park in the Sierra Nevada, the Yosemite National Park, which I will visit later, there are many other places worth visiting. Before I drove up in the Mountains, I visited Tadashi and Suzie in Davis, near Sacramento. I got to know the two of them and their daughter when I was at the Glacier Bay, and back then, they invited me to visit them at their place. It was a big luck for me that I could sleep in their guest room, as the temperatures in this area still stayed very hot until late in the night. The next morning they even provided me with a big breakfast and a lunch package for the journey. It’s really incredible how much support I get on my project North America from all sides. I can’t be thankful enough for that.

As soon as I filled up my supplies at Walmart, I drove up the Interstate 80 into the Sierra Nevada. Quickly, the initially 14-(!!!)-lane highway narrowed to a common two lane one, that winded up the mountains to an elevation of more than 2000 meters.

Next to the highway, the railroad track curved over the pass.

In the mountain village Truckee, I turned off and shortly afterward arrived at the Lake Tahoe. Another one of those places, that I’ve seen gorgeous images from. However, in the beginning, the lake stayed far behind my expectations. Mainly the cloudy weather and the wind let the lake appear like a big, unremarkable area. As it was only noon, I looked for an occupation for the afternoon. Hiking, what else? Once I’ve taken a short swim in the lake, I drove up to the Barker Pass and hiked from there to the Ellis Lake and the Ellis Peak.

The remote Ellis Lake at the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

Especially nature up here was really impressive. In the valleys, you could find shadow casting trees, covered with a contrast rich light green moss.

Especially the light green mosses made the forests so impressive.

Further up on the ridges, there were dead and crooked trees.

Vegetation up here had to fight the harsh conditions.

Impressed by this vegetation I drove down to the shoreline of the lake again and climbed on the eagle rock to watch the sunset.

Watching the sunset on the Ellis Rock.

And this was the moment I realized how beautiful this place actually was. The sun setting behind me threw a magical light on the mountains rising on the opposite shore and on the clouds that accumulated above them. Incredible! What a good evening.

The evening light glowing on the clouds over the lake.

The next day I traveled on early.

Sunrise over the lake. Time to move on.

I just stopped at the Emerald Bay to see some Waterfalls running down over the bare rocks before I turned my back towards the Lake Tahoe.

The waterfalls at the Emerald Bay.

My way went on down the steep Kingsbury Grade into the Valley behind the Sierra Nevada.as I drove a small distance through the State of Nevada, I fueled up to a good price and got my next oil change. I drove none less than 25.000 kilometers with my van Max.

Behind the Sierra Nevada, once more the climate was much more arid. Through the shrubs, I drove further south towards the Mono Lake. The highway behind the steep falling Sierra Nevada was another beautiful scenic drive on my road trip.

Panoramic setting with the Sierra Nevada rising out of the dry steppes.

One more stop I did before I came to the Mono Lake. From Tadashi, I have got the insider tip to go to the Travertine Hot Springs. Hot Springs again, not the best thing to visit on a hot, sunny day. But I still made my way up there to at least see them. And, once more, I got positively surprised. Those were by far the coolest Hot Springs I ever saw. Almost like a small Yellowstone, the hot springs had created a magnificent landscape.

Yellowstone-Feeling at the Travertine Hot Springs in California.

And with some wind and cloud shadows, I could even relax in the springs for a while. The day was already great again.

Pure relaxation. And I had them all to myself.

In the afternoon I finally made my way to the Mono Lake. Sadly, there were some wildfires nearby, which dimmed the view on the Mono Lake Basin. However, the landscape here was something special again. I hiked a little bit along the shoreline, saw some of the tufa stones and drove up to a viewpoint later that evening, from where I could see the whole lake and where I even could sleep.

The remarkable tufa stones at the shoreline of the Mono Lake.

Panoramic view of the Mono Lake, what a nice camping spot.

My campsite for tonight. The sun will wake me up tomorrow in the morning.

Opening all the doors of my van and turning the hi-fi system on maximum I played “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd out into the prairie. Like that and not any other way a road trip should be.

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