2 June 2016: Virginia Lakes Canyon

Author: Morgan O’Reilly

CA: Mono Co: Virgina Lakes Canyon

Today we awoke to a breakfast of oatmeal with a variety of delicious fixings. We departed to the top of Conway Summit in Bodie Hills where maryam gave a fantastic presentation about clouds. We then explored the flora and fauna of the summit. We saw the Boisduval Blue butterfly and the rest of the class did a group key of Lewisia Rediviva, Bitter root. We then traveled to Virginia Lakes Canyon where a majority of us climbed the Virginia Lakes Trail. Some of us stayed as the base of the canyon and explored the local flora and fauna next to the lake, like the Belding Ground Squirrel and the Fox Sparrow As we passed Blue Lake, we saw a mountain morph pacific chorus frog and then paused for an impromptu snowball fight along the trail. We continued trekking along the trail, through snow and snow melt until we reached Cooney lake. Cooney lake is so cold that icicles are suspended in a water. When we scooped our hands into the water we pulled out these icicles by the dozens. A brave few joined the Cooney Lake Swim Team by diving into the lake’s icy waters. Further up the trail we climbed, past the abandoned miner’s cabin, where another snowball fight occurred, until we reached the summit of our hike, on the rock faces on the shore of Frog Lake, at an altitude of 10,400 feet. We took in the birds and the scenery in this alpine wonderland before taking turns sliding down this snowy embankment. Christian brought a yoga mat which served very well as an impromptu sled. Santana pod and Christophen adopted the Jepson Manual to Vascular Plants as a sled. “For the Plants,” they shouted as they launched themselves down the slope. After we had our fun in our alpine winter wonderland, we hiked back down the trail where Profe was ambushed by Mayra and Co., who had stock piled an armada of snowballs and she launched a ferocious attack on Ryan. The attack was short lived as Mayra was unfortunately unable to chase her target down. We then returned to camp for a delicious dinner of grilled chicken sausages and pasta. After dinner we sat out under the stars, shared what nature means to us. After we met as a group, some of us retreated to our tents to go to sleep while others stayed up for a constellation lesson by Chris where we got to look at some of the planets through the spotting scope. It’s amazing how many stars you can see when you look through your binoculars! Now off to get some rest to be ready to soak it all up on our last full day in  Mono county and the Sierra’s.