After an absolutely lovely time with Steve and Denise (who are THE BEST hosts) we said our goodbyes after a hearty breakfast and embarked on the 10 hour drive south.
10 hours is too long to drive without a few stops, and there are so many choices on the 395 it is hard to decide what to do.
We first stretched our legs at Mono Lake.
Mono Lake is a terminal lake, meaning streams flow in but there is no outlet. The salts from the eroded rocks build up in the lake as water evaporates and the salt is left behind.
Unfortunately, in 1941, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power decided to take the water that flows into the lake changing the entire ecosystem as the water became twice as salty because the water level was halved.
Luckily many organisms are resilient and are able to adapt when humans make changes that suit only our needs.
A few hours later we found ourselves at Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery. Although there are only tours in the summer the grounds are open for walking around year round.
The hatchery was built in 1916 to "match the mountains and last forever" (Fish and Game Commissioner Connell). It looks like something that would be found in the Netherlands.
The hatchery supplies about 8 million golden trout eggs to hatcheries around the state. Golden trout is a subspecies of rainbow trout that is native to California, which is why it is our state fish. The Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery is the sole source of golden trout eggs in the state.
If it were the season for spawning this area would be full of water and trout.
This is a perfect place to escape the 395 drive for a bit and have a picnic. You just have to share it with the 60,000+ visitors that have the same plan as you.