Winter has come to Mono LakeDecember 14th, 2012 by Nick, Project Specialist
While waking up to fresh snow is a great treat (especially for those of us from Southern California), this most recent storm revealed some extra surprises. Winter may be upon us here in the Mono Basin, but a multitude of animals are still enjoying the spectacular scenery. On my walk to work this morning I spotted fresh tracks from bears, raccoons, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other furry woodland critters. Clark’s Nutcrackers, Stellar’s Jays, and Mountain Chickadees had the air to themselves as they traded calls back and forth.
Winter in the Mono Basin is revealing its quiet yet shockingly beautiful self. It’s a time when you’re free to explore without another soul for miles around, and have plenty of time to ponder what’s to come in the next year. Fortunately the water year is already off to an immensely better start than last year, and we’re all hoping for more precipitation to come and restore the creeks, raise the lake back up again, and fill the Mono Basin with life. In Lee Vining we’ve received over 1 inch of precipitation for December so far, compared to just a trace for the December 2011. The season total has surpassed 3 inches, well over twice as much at this point last year.
One of the perks to living here in small town with just a few hundred people is the bountiful night sky. With next to no light pollution, the Milky Way and countless other stars and galaxies are a regular nighttime treat, and the annual meteor showers are even more spectacular. With the trail of Comet Wirtanen adding its own trail to the night sky, this should be a wonderful sight to see. Even if you can’t be out in the Mono Basin, anywhere in the US clear of light pollution can share in this delight tonight and tomorrow.