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An intern’s goodbye to Mono Lake

September 5th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Charlotte Johnston-Carter, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

With college starting soon, I have to say goodbye to Mono Lake a little earlier than my other seasonal coworkers. This summer has been one of the best of my life, so it will be a bittersweet goodbye. As a final goodbye to this amazing corner of the world, here are some of my favorite photos and memories from this summer.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte standing by the bronze bear in Lee Vining. Photo by Aviva North.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte dressed up as a tufa. Photo by Aviva North.

The photo above was taken during our seasonal staff training. We were learning interpretive skills and I just had to wear this tufa costume. Little did I know, but I would be wearing this costume all summer—every time I gave my geology patio talk at the Mono Lake Committee Bookstore & Information Center.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte pointing at a big chunk of snow. Photo by Aviva North.

Snow? In the summer?! As a Southern California native I couldn’t believe that this could happen, but that’s just the way the Sierra Nevada is. This photo was taken during my first visit to the Lakes Basin near Mammoth Lakes, a beautiful place south of Mono Lake. This summer I’ve definitely learned that the weather in the Eastern Sierra is very different from that of Southern California.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte holding pumice with a funny grin on her face. Photo by Erv Nichols.

After a morning of canoe training, we found a couple chunks of pumice floating in the shallows of Navy Beach. I was amazing to see a rock float, and it was even more amazing to lift it up—it was so light! This moment really made me realize how amazing geology can be, especially when you are in a place with such cool geology like the Mono Basin.

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte standing above the Walker Creek diversion dam. Photo by Aviva North.

This is the Walker Creek diversion dam, one of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power dams on Mono Lake’s tributary streams. It was wonderful to see it overflow and even more amazing to see how all this water changed Mono Lake over the course of the summer. Trails at South Tufa that I walked on in June are now completely covered by the lake!

Mono Lake Intern Charlotte standing on Pothole Dome in Tuolumne Meadows. Photo by Aviva North.

It was so amazing to be so close to one of my favorite national parks, Yosemite National Park. I got to explore so many more parts of Yosemite during my summer at Mono Lake. During my explorations I also got to see a marmot for the first time in my life!

I’ve been so fortunate to work for such an amazing organization. Not only is the work we do at the Mono Lake Committee so important, the people we do it with are amazing. From the dedicated Mono Lake Volunteers to my fellow seasonal staff, everyone I’ve worked with is passionate, friendly, and energetic. I’ve made memories this summer that will last for the rest of my life.

Even though the summer is over, I know I will definitely come back to Mono Lake. Maybe you will see me again next summer as a seasonal staff member, or one day I’ll come back and visit. Either way, after this summer Mono Lake will always have a special place in my heart and in my life.

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