28 May 2016: To the East

Entering into Mono County, through Sonora pass

Author: Mayra Zarate

CA: Alpine- Mono County: DeChambeau Creek: Simis Ranch

Today, we would be heading towards our new home at Mono Lake. We made multiple stops along the way and people were allowed to wander around and naturalize, or do what they wanted to. The first stop was at Chipmunk flats where, despite its name, no chipmunks were seen. Ryan had to let his van running because this morning its battery had died and to jump start it, we borrowed jumper cables from our camping neighbors. People spread out and observed the different species of pines in the area, went birding, or stayed on the lookout for any possible mammals in the area. Our stay here was short and we quickly got back into the vans and headed off to our next stop at Sonora Pass. It was here where we had several presentations and got to play around in the snow. It was also here where people got to see the alpine chipmunk, and several species of birds. Despite wanting to stay for a little longer in the snow, we continued to our next destination because we were headed towards the Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport.


Stacy prepares for the storm!

It started raining along the way but that didn’t stop people from jumping in and getting friendly with the locals already in the springs. Some of us chose to go birding instead and we got to see several cool species along with two more chipmunk species. Our final destination was Simis Ranch at DeChambeau Creek in the Mono Lake Basin. This was the final stretch and everyone in Chris’s van was talking about how I would lose it if I saw a bear just after leaving the springs. Just before coming into view of Mono Lake, I saw an american black bear in a patch of aspen trees during the drive and I lost it and almost cried. It was still raining when we had arrived at the creek and once again had to set up camp in the rain. After camp was set up and everyone had their dinner, a group of us chose to go for a late night walk in search of a of a common poorwill, and failed.