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Canoe with the osprey at Mono Lake this weekend

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

One of the perks of working as the Canoe Coordinator for the Mono Lake Committee is that I get to closely observe the nesting osprey at Mono Lake. Just like me, the osprey usually arrive at Mono Lake in late spring. Canoe tours don’t start until mid-June each summer, so for the first month I only observed the birds from the shore at South Tufa.

A canoe tour paddles past Pirate Ship Tufa on a calm morning. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Once canoe tours start, though, I have the unique opportunity to see these birds from the water. There are approximately 16 pairs of nesting osprey at Mono Lake, all of which nest on the tufa islands, and humans must stay at least 250 yards away from the nests at all times. The only exception to this rule is (more…)

Sign up for a Mono Lake canoe tour today

Saturday, June 1st, 2019 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a visit to the Eastern Sierra! Reserve your seat today on a Mono Lake canoe tour to experience Mono Lake from an entirely new perspective.

Calm mornings lead to stunning reflections on Mono Lake. Photos by Alison Kaplan.

On your hour-long tour, you will learn all about the ecology and geology of this high desert lake while paddling among tufa towers, seeing eye-to-eye with the brine shrimp, and maybe even (more…)

Celebrate clean air with a discount on Mono Lake canoe tours

Friday, August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.

Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. (more…)

Early bird special for Mono Lake canoe tours

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

Each weekend the Mono Lake Interns wake with the sun and meet at 6:30am, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for a day of paddling on Mono Lake. When they arrive at Navy Beach, they are almost always greeted by a calm, glassy lake and an empty parking lot.

Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy Mono Lake, especially from a canoe. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Mono Lake in the early morning is a magical place: the Sierra Crest is lit up by first light and its image is reflected on the lake’s still surface (more…)

Wildfires affect air quality in the Mono Basin and Yosemite National Park

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

The sky remains hazy in the Eastern Sierra as smoke from two wildfires continues to affect air quality.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Mono Basin. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

TheĀ Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13 and is currently burning over 21,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest just west of Yosemite National Park near the small community of El Portal. Highway 140 is closed, cutting off access to Yosemite via the Arch Rock Entrance. Air quality monitoring in Yosemite Valley rated the air quality as unhealthy or even (more…)

The logistics of canoeing on Mono Lake’s unique water

Saturday, June 30th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

As the new Canoe Coordinator, I arrived in mid-May to begin preparing for a summer packed with canoe tours on Mono Lake. My early season responsibilities included familiarizing myself with the area, reading all about the canoe program and how it functions, learning how to back up the canoe trailer, and taking inventory of all of the equipment before the first weekend of tours in late June.

A family enjoys a leisurely paddle on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

To my surprise, the task that took up the most time out of all of these was the equipment inventory. I had read in the canoe program manual that some of the equipment had to be replaced every year due to damage, but I didn’t really understand the extent of that damage until I saw heavy-duty ropes and straps falling to pieces in front of my eyes.

Mono Lake canoe tours aren’t wildly adventurous or extreme; we paddle close to shore at a relaxed pace, observing the birds and wildlife while discussing the lake’s natural and political history. How, then, does the canoe equipment take such a beating each season? The answer lies in Mono Lake’s unique chemistry. (more…)

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