Mono Valley

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September 13, 2004

Planning and Descriptions

A set of hikes, exploring the variety of the Mono Valley. A pre-breakfast stroll down to the Navy Beach tufa, an exploration of Panum Crater, and a quick excursion up to Parker Lake.

Routefinding on the shore of Mono Lake was interesting. I could always see my destination (the tufa formations), even though my path was a knight errant route through the sage and scrub. The tufa was particularly interesting, as it was actively growing, with large amounts of fresh water pouring out of the bases of some of the spires, and forming deposits as soon as it hit the lake water...or rather, the lake water depositing carbonate when the fresh water touched it. Heading back, I'm glad I paid attention to the landmark trees on the way out, because it was hard to keep track of nearby navigation, though the distant landmarks were easy enough. Sadly, I neglected to bring my camera.

After breakfast and parting ways with Boon, I went over to Panum Crater (one of the newest volcanic eruptions in the area), and wandered around the central lava dome. Lots of interesting geology there. I skipped the cinder rim, mostly.

My final walk, was the short walk up to Parker Lake, an interesting climb over a series of terminal moraines. Would have been nice, if I'd had more time and inclination, to walk along the lake to the foot of the cliffs where Parker Creek cascades down from the basin above, where I was the day before.

Finally, since I had the 4-wheel drive, I did a circuit of some of the roads on the north and west sides of Glass Mountain, which forms the northern edge of the Long Valley Caldera. Interesting high desert, meadows and forest, and as you get closer to Glass Mountain, the predominant rock (including the surface of the dirt roads) is obsidian. Some nice views of the White Mountains from there.

A really interesting resource for this area is Quaternary History of the Mono Valley, California by Israel C. Russell, reprinted from the 8th Annual Report of the USGS, 1889. Despite being slightly outmoded in several areas, it is a fascinating read.

Summary and Technical Details

A total of about 7 miles and 1000' of ascent.

Weather and Conditions

Clear and warm.


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Maps of hike locations and route detail maps, routes in blue and red

Mono Lake

Panum Crater

Parker Canyon
Detailed Map (170K)

Glass Mountain
Detailed Map (110K)

2 days prior:Helen Lake area Kuna Peak Kuna Peak Kuna Peak :previous day

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Mono Valley / Robert Parks / / revised July '05