We drove really, really early Friday morning. Randomly, Ryan had been waking up at 4 a.m. for several days in a row and not being able to fall back asleep. We decided that if he happened to wake up that early on Friday, we'd leave--and that is exactly what happened. Sadly, the kids woke up to get in the car and did not fall back asleep during the drive--not even for a little bit. Oh well.
On our way to June Lake, we decided to stop at Mono Lake. We'd seen pictures of Mono and it looked super interesting--kind of like Fantasy Canyon, part of our road trip last year, but on water. We weren't disappointed. Something really interesting about Mono Lake is that the water's saline level is so high that the only things that can survive there are alkali flies and brine shrimp (AKA sea monkeys!!!). These flies and shrimp, though, provide an excellent diet for several varieties of nesting birds that nest on an island in Mono Lake. On the shores, there are flies all over the ground in huge swarms that I was glad were not in the air. You look into the water and see thousands of brine shrimp. There are also those crazy Tufa formations all over the shoreline and in the water. Mono Lake was a really cool stop.
After Mono Lake, we went to a museum in the town of Lee Vining, where we were all impressed by the upside-down house. The big draw for the kids, though, was the park next door to the museum. They were moaning and groaning when we dragged them away after playing for a while. Next, we stopped at the Visitor's Center for Mono Lake and Yosemite, to plan out the next day. And after that, we drove to June Lake and to our camp site!
While we were setting up, we were a little concerned about wind. The wind was so strong that we could hardly set out tent up. And, once it was up successfully, the wind was blowing the tnet so hard that at times the tent was almost laying flat. We were now more than a little concerned. Sleeping was going to be interesting. But we persevered, got our camp set up, then decided to go see the lake. The wind was also quite strong at the lake and we were all kind of frozen. After a while, we went back to our campsite to have a quick dinner and to get into warmer clothes--namely, foot jams. Once we were warm, we hopped in the car to drive around to see what else the area had to offer. We ended up at the June Lake Beach again for a potty stop. We were much warmer, so we wandered around for a bit before hopping back in the car. Then, we found another lake only five minutes from June Lake. And, imagine that, another playground. The children were happy. We all played for a while and realized that the wind had died down at this lake, which could hopefully bode well for the wind at our camp site. When it started to get dark, we headed back to June Lake. Wonder of wonders, the wind had died down. Hallelujah. We tucked the kids in, then Ryan and I read and talked for a while before going in to the tent to listen to Insurgent (an audiobook) while we fell asleep.
We drove through many tiny towns on our way north. We happened to stop at this market, which I thought was super cute and western.
They think this is funny:
Reed has always been super into sticks. He always has a stick when we are hiking or walking outdoors. He's been this way since he was tiny!
Lila was super mad about something..
So we all took a grumpy selfie...
And she cheered up!