Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pumice Among Us

Following five days of skiing and the comfort of the ski patrol housing, we were ready for a rest day and the pleasure of sleeping under an early spring sky. We ventured to a spot we had camped before off of Highway 120 on the road to Benton, California. Our previous visits to this spot were in a Toyota Corolla, so we never ventured far off the paved road due to bogging down in the soft pumice. This time, with the knobby tires on the truck, we were able to travel a bit further. We arrived early enough to put the solar panel out to charge the battery which powers our fridge and lights, and to cook dinner by the setting sun.

The view from our campsite was much like what is shown in the photo. The substrate was a fine gravel of volcanic tuff, spewed from the nearby Mono Craters. Growing in this seemingly infertile soil were stands of trees showing evidence of fire in recent years. This soil is clean and dustless, and produces a satisfying crunch when walked across.

The morning brought crystalline blue skies with not a breath of wind, and the sun provided warmth after a chilly night. Above us, flocks of seagulls were squawking loudly as they migrated south, shimmering like sequins in the morning light. The nearby Mono Craters were blanketed from the snow on Sunday night. John suggested a couple of the slopes might even make for good skiing…a prospect that may have been acted upon had we not told our legs that this was a well-deserved rest day.
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