My Exploration Up At Mono Lake May 11th 2019......Journey Report

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May 22, 2019, 5:58:20 AM5/22/19
The past year we have been spending more time up near the Mono Basin for example last year I did a couple homesteads and farms along with a ghost town above Mono Lake. But this year I wanted to physically bring you an adventure right along the lake with a variety of fantastic locations that we could share with all of you. Which half of them share quite a bit of western heritage to go with the beauty that surrounds them within the Mono Basin.

I love Mono lake and the basin its a fascinating place bordered by massive mountains of the sierras along the edge of Yosemite. The lake is so blue from above and their is a chain of craters here from a super volcano that could blow anytime. Hell the Long Valley Caldera is rumbling and that volcano is worst then Yellowstone so if it goes this basin would not look very beautiful like it does today. I mean really its a giant oasis in the desert on the edge of the forest so I would enjoy both worlds. Their is so much nature we seen on this trip but its still very cool at night up here so in another month or two their will be even more I am sure.

It was Tammy's birthday on top of it so I wanted to give her a good experience. On our birthdays we always choose some really awesome paranormal adventures, explorations and journeys. She wanted to see the basin and I told her id put something awesome together so I did. That would include Frank Sam's Homestead, Grave Of The Unknown Prospector, Sam's Pumice Mine, Panum Crater, Mono–Inyo Craters, Navy Beach, South Mono Tufa Beach, Ghost Town Of Mono Mills, Inyo National Forest, Grave of Adeline Carson Stilts, Mono Lake Cemetery and the Mono Black Point Fissure Site. Also Tammy's Birthday party which was her celebration after such a grand adventure!

Its a very diverse basin and honestly two hours away from me so I do not live far from this place. Which kind of can be a bit scary considering how hot and volcanic this area is. But I can promise you this is one of the true treasures in the world and in California. If you feel like Bodie was not exciting enough just a little past it is Mono Lake and all sorts of treats surround the lake.

I was excited about this trip I packed food, snacks, Stella Artois, six different types of 420, backpacks and anything else you could think of. I just did my brakes brand new bled nice and also ready to take on the basin so we were on our way before sunup to paradise. I tend to sometimes go all out then again when your in the middle of nowhere you need to be ready for anything. I was just excited to be able to explore this place more in depth.

If you go into the Mono Basin you can go up into the woods into the town of Lee Vining which is your gateway into Yosemite. But also you can access a few other treats from here. Its so scenic especially when you come in from the top of the mountains into the basin and you see the entire lake before you surrounded by desert to the left and national forest covered mountains to the right its surreal. I mean the share size is amazing and Mono use to be an ancient sea so in fact it was ten times larger and deeper at one time.

For those that do not know it its also three times saltier then the ocean and only contains brine shrimp. Its about sixty square miles so driving around it takes a bit of time. Now I live near Lake Tahoe which is 191 square miles so Mono Lake is a couple times smaller but still its a fairly large body of water. It is also eighty times more alkaline then the sea. Their are all sorts of sites along the way worth checking out so when I put this on our site ill put it as one giant mass exploration and it will include galleries of all locations that surrounded the lake we worked with on this trip and maybe even a few locations we did previously near its shores so it should be stellar.

John Muir said that this basin was  "A country of wonderful contrasts, hot deserts bordered by snow-laden mountains, cinders and ashes scattered on glacier-polished pavement, frost and fire working together in the making of beauty." Its one of the oldest lakes in North America and it has no outlet let alone inlets. Water runs off the mountains therefore the lake grows and recedes based on year snow melt. Springs also flow under the lake which in turn form Tufas

Among the most iconic features of Mono Lake are the columns of limestone that tower over the water surface. These limestone towers consist primarily of calcium carbonate minerals such as calcite (CaCO3). This type of limestone rock is referred to as tufa, which is a term used for limestone that forms in low to moderate temperatures similar to cave formations.

Personally I think this is one of the coolest things about this lake so its a must to see. When I go off exploring the paranormal I sometimes instead find history, mystery etc other times we find cool stuff. No less I always share what I find and see with our community. Everything we do ties into things so its important to link these places together with the ghost towns and sites we seen.

I mean its easy to get excited about this place with the Mono Inyo Chain of Craters and volcanoes, high sierras in fact glaciers sit at nearly 13k today and then this gorgeous oasis in the desert. Of course if you came here looking to fish at this lake you were sadly disappointed so I cant imagine living in any of the boom towns. Hell most farms and historic sites that surround this lake are very old but while the views were great trying to drink or fish from here was really impossible. I cant ever imagine living on a lake I could not drink or fish from so that is the downside.

We would set off early before sunup I love leaving early getting some coffee, snacks on the road and listening to music. Sit back smoke a bowl of some kush tune on into the sound system and just enjoy the snow all on the mountains. I live where I do for good reason the same area Muir felt in love with and so many other explorers. Its hard to believe I once grew up as a kid back east when I get to see the stuff I get to see as a grown mature man and believe me I take none of this for granted the great outdoors is truly my second residence my friends!

Our first site we would visit would be the Frank Sam's Homestead. I would stop at this vista point before I descended down to the basin. Once you travel the basin you will start to skirt around the lake where you will find just a short distance away a homestead or rather small farm with a couple of acres. Overshadowed by forested mountains with bigfoot right out in its backyard I mean as an investigator how can I refuse?

So our first stop would take place at the old Route 395 house its a well known location for urban explorers and its quite a bustling little place. I went just because I feed off abandoned places do not care what they are or where they are if its abandoned I am game and so we pulled on up to the old Frank Sam's Homestead.

Frank Sam's Homestead

Frank Sam ran his pumice mine right out of this homestead of course prior to him living here it belonged or was part of the Tom Farrington Ranch. The cabin site or homestead rather are a bit run down sitting behind barbed wire. I just went right under it no hesitation because I wanted to see the property more in depth. From his home you could see the edge of the Mono Craters and they are just these giant hill like geological features with a crater on top. Some of them craters are as big as entire mountains hell they are mountains but you can see one after another all in succession its bad ass. At one time lava was pouring out from these craters flowing and spewing.

To the right out near some sage brush was a homestead or shell of one then to the left some sort of small outbuilding probably used for his pumice operation. You see Frank owned a mine about a mile away at the base of Punam Crater. He would mine pumice up here then bring it back to his homestead and sell it by those passing by on old 395. Back in the day people such as tourist would buy it. You guys know what pumice is right? Well its formed by volcanic activity its very aerated type of rock which women often use on their feet when doing pedicures etc.
Their use to be a ton of pumice at this homestead but folks been stealing or taking it. I hardly seen any but what I did see is allot of tools, vehicle parts, wood, overgrown brush, rusty relics of the past and vandalism here. Nobody can just explore people have to destroy shit and that upsets me. I want to enjoy these places absorb there history not find holes in walls grrrr it just pisses me off to no end.

This is a mix of desert and forest in the distance is a patch of woods behind that a huge woodsy canyon with mountains and cliffs all back dropping it. I mean if I had more time id love to set off on foot with a backpack and go deep up into that canyon. I mean really the edge of Yosemite comes right to the edge of this place and man those thousand to three thousand foot cliffs are really phenomenal.

I found an entire wooden wall or roof on the ground their was also out near the outbuilding a fridge, deep freezer, washer and dryer. I also found this weird shaped structure maybe a trough near this creek and what may have been a grill. The site is a big scattered out in the field is an old bed all the coils and entire frame are heavily rusted. This area can get 6 feet of snow during one single storm overnight so the buildings and anything of value is very damaged from the elements.

I noticed rusty water pipes, piles of wood, furnace, rusty trough, water heater tank and a vehicle also. It looks like a tornado hit the place but like I said bad weather, vandals and high winds have pretty much assaulted this place. Their are a couple other ranches in the distance also but those are working ranches with livestock. Ranching is huge up at Mono Lake its easy to drive around see cattle, horses, chickens and farms every so many miles.

While I was exploring three different vehicles pulled up the first one looked like a cop. Obviously if I am beyond the fence roaming around I assume all risk so I was like oh boy here we go time to deal with a cop or crazy local farmer. Well I walked up to the vehicle and this little old lady with her hound dog told me she has been wanting to see this homestead for years and photograph it but was not sure she would get into trouble.

Maybe she thought I owned the property or something but I told her I am just here to explore and I do not care if she does either. I gave her some local history about the property then went back underneath the barbed wire in front of her and wandered around some more. You can kind of see the lake not far off in the distance and the snow melt is so high this seasonal creek was flowing hardcore. The lady left then two other folks pulled up then left as well. I guess they were spooked by me but this spot is very popular.

The house had three rooms someone drew an alien on one wall so I put my alien mask on then stood next to it lol. Their is a bit of spray pain from punks who did graffiti its not anything special believe me. Near the front door the entire floor was gone someone had put a few wooden pieces over the holes so you wont fall in but with my weight they were buckling and even if its a foot down you can still break an ankle or get hurt.

The one room had blue tiles but they were dirty, worn and peeling up. Out the window from the home you could see Panum Crater which is the lowest crater unless you count the crater or volcano that resides in the center of Mono Lake which is now an island. But its the lowest crater on the main land and then you look right and you see more and more massive volcanoes each one getting taller its phenomenal as long as you know what to look for. I did allot of research and studying so I was ready to see what I wanted to see even from an abandoned homestead.

Their was a small bathroom or closet in the bedroom and on some of the walls someone took a marker and wrote some really weird shit. One of the quotes I took a photo of because its freaking out there. I would not say this site is spooky in anyway but a hundred years ago the ranch was not a stranger to having native American people on it. Frank Sam was a descendent of Captain Sam who was one of the Yosemite-Mono Paiute leaders during the historic Mariposa Indian War. Captains Sam's daughters Leanne and Louisa were sister wives of Bridgeport Tom and they did some amazing basket weaving. Sam's daughters both would have visited even stayed on this ranch before even Frank took hold of the property.

I probably spent almost an hour here give or take but its a really cool place at the bottom of the basin which once was part of a sea. I would then go on to a place really close by known as the grave of the unknown prospector.

Grave Of The Unknown Prospector

I know very little about this site but right by the highway there is a little road you take or pull off. Out in the middle of the basin you can see this wrought iron fence that surrounds this massive gravestone. It is the grave of the unknown prospector. Many miners came to this basin looking for gold some only found death. I mean honestly from hiking up here I can clearly see that this is a very harsh area to venture into some simply died of dehydration crossing the basin.

The gravestone reads the following On this site is the grave of the unknown prospector. A reminder of the great sacrifices made by our ancestors, who explored and settled the western frontier, and especially to the memory of each and all of the pioneers of Mono County, whose resting place is known only to God. May they rest in peace.

The grave sits all by its lonesome self its a bit odd no less. But men died all the time in this vast frontier and I did take some EVP here. Without men or pioneers like this the west today would still be an unknown land. But the miners came in built towns, cities and they explored the west. Some simply did not make it and they were just buried just about anywhere.

If you look below the gravestone on the ground there are coins, rusty cans and other trinkets put there. I think I seen a small gold pan and maybe part of a lantern. Who knows some of the things may have been what was on the miner when he died or passed away. The big open expanse and views from this grave are awesome but you do tend to feel small here.

Behind the grave a mile or two away is the chain of craters and they are breathtaking high desert mountains covered in patches of forest. You can seen miles of these volcanoes and if they were to blow wooo I would not want to be standing at this gravesite. In front of the grave off to the west you can see the snowcapped sierras. Very little has changed here minus the wooden power line poles that run past the gravesite.

I would end up moving onto a mine after this but not any type of mine I been to before a place the locals called the Sam Mine.

The Sam Pumice Mine

On my way to Panum Crater there is a split one to the right one to the left. The road to the left leads to an area you can park then climb one of the first volcanoes in the chain of craters. But if you go to your right you skirt around to the south side of Panum and between this other massive crater which is double in size then the third one doubles in size again till you have a series of massive mountains all with craters on top of them.

However when you skirt around to the south end the road goes through a few hills and in this little open area you have this wooden frame. Behind it quite a few rock faces which look stripped mine. What were they mining? Simple pumice stone! There were bricks of them they have very little value unless you want to make your feet soft lol. When I was on this expedition I actually found a big rectangular block of pumice which I fetched for Tammy so she is good for a couple years lol.

I have never came across pumice before or a pumice mine really so its a bit odd. Not sure what this wooden frame was it had no walls it just extended out from the hillside. Maybe at one time there was a tunnel and this was the entrance. Perhaps this was a work shop where they carved the pumice into blocks. Its really hard to know what was all here or how they mined the pumice.

Frank Sam was mining the pumice BBQ briquettes as they call it or Feather rock landscaping rocks. Back then the pumice was used to heat food up like charcoal others used them in their garden. Today women use pumice to get rid of calluses. Frank Sam would mine the pumice many times bringing loads of it back to his ranch which was the first site I visited see how I do my research where there are connections?

In the early 1940's the U.S. Pumice Company leased the mine from Frank Sam and today they still have an operable mine. But I did not see anything that would make me believe the pumice is still being mined here and since Panum is a protected site now nobody can do any sort of mining here because the crater is now a geological landmark overshadowing Mono Lake. But the company probably now mines elsewhere and some of the worlds pumice comes right from these local volcanic sites.

We almost climbed to the rim of the volcano but we wanted to start at the beginning for our hike so we went back down to the truck. Their is quite a bit of rocks and pieces of pumice everywhere so you have to be careful climbing around here you can fall or roll an ankle just because of the terrain and how unforgiving it is. We could sort of see the lake from where we were at the thing about this basin is that you see the lake from so many different locations so the best thing to do is enjoy them as a whole that whole being Mono Lake.

We would go back to the crossroad then head up to Panum Crater. The crater is amazingly large even though its the lowest of the entire chain its share size can be a bit intimidating more so if this volcano were ever to erupt again it is always in the back of your head. These are not extinct and the last eruption was about 650 years ago but still deep underground its hot. Most folks offroad up here and do not even realize that below your feet is chambers of lava building up.

Panum Crater

Their is a kiosk in the parking area before you ascend to the rim. It talks a bit about the geology here its interesting. This crater is really the first of many but this one sits by itself kind of. Then just across the desert you can see two more which are blended into one another followed by a series of mountains, cliffs and other craters three to four times even higher then Panum. But Panum is one of the smaller craters in the Mono Inyo Chain. Of course do not misunderstood Panum Crater is still very large

You ascend to the rim in soft sand its a bit of a pain but once you get to the rim the ground is much more dense and rocky. I believe the top of the crater nearly stands at 7k so once you get to the rim you can see nice views of the snowy sierras and when you come around the north end views of Mono Lake along with the White Mountains.

When we got up to the Rim the views were nice everywhere and as you hike around it you can see Sam's Pumice Mine below. This is a textbook rhyolitic lava dome. Their was an old couple who was with us for a short time and when get to the top you have two choices. The first choice is you can hike down into the crater or caldera then skirt around the plug. The plug resides in the middle of the dome its huge all volcanic rock. We could have climbed down into the crater then rock climbed the plug as it sits about 75' above the rim but instead we veered to the right and took the 2.1 mile rim trail so we could walk around the entire crater.

Rhyolitic volcanoes are characterized by having large amounts of silica (quartz) in their lava. The content of silica at Panum is about 76 percent. It makes the lava very viscous, or thick, and very glassy. Products of this rhyolitic eruption are pumice and obsidian, the volcanic glass that Native Americans used to make arrow points and scrapers. So as you hike you do see pumice and obsidian along the way also. As a matter in fact later during the day out in the desert we found two really nice pieces of glass like black  obsidian one piece I gave to my son the other one I kept.

The hike is fairly level and easy you just skirt the rim so you can look down into the crater to your left and open vast expanses always to your right. It was a long hike you have to wear good shoes for it trust me  As you make your way north Mono Lake does come into view and then the rim ascends till you can see the entire lake before your eyes which is really awesome. You can see south beach which is home to hundreds of Tufa formations and from here t hey just look like rocks along the shoreline. Their were some wild flowers blooming and also plenty of butterflies so lots of nature to see if your paying attention.

When I arrived at the highest point of the rim trail I busted out my pipe, beer and a few snacks. We sat down had a nice break above the lake on a volcano. I never felt so much at peace as if this place were my own private fort where I could see people coming from miles away except that their was no people their was just silence. It was a gorgeous day out to really no wind, sun was warm and the skies were clear. The views were amazing I mean the sierras are covered in snow and those are some high steep mountains draped with thick dense forest and you see it all from here. This basin is your gateway into  Yosemite so its a real deal type of place.

When you come around the rim it began's to descend as you head north then left to your west. Eventually it gets super close to the plug as a matter in fact between the plug and the rim at this point in the crater is only separated by a few feet. The plug is what is keeping the lava at bay below. Its kind of like taking a liter of soda shaking it with the plug on. Yeah their is pressure and any time you loosen that cap pow it blows same concept with this crater. While this crater may not be as old some of them in the area nearby do date back to 40k.

Once you get around to the west end you will descend almost to the valley floor where you will come up over a small hill back to the parking area. Its a simple hike you can take your kids here its very safe and fun. I did not go here for the paranormal believe me but I respect this place there is power here. If these volcanic cones were ever to go that massive plug would be in pieces airborne raining down on Lee Vining and other towns. I would not want to be near it and really they are just cones the real volcano is what lurks underneath known as the Long Valley Caldera just up the road where the highway goes right through it. Its been rumbling more so in recent years and some scientist think it could blow anywhere from now till a hundred years from now. If it blows so will this chain of craters including Panum.

Panum is the most northeastern crater in the chain and the youngest. The craters different you can see others ones further to the south that are forested even a few times higher. I suppose you could park on the highway hike it in and climb them. But their are thirty miles of craters some much largest then this one and this crater is over 2 miles just to skirt around the rim so yeah its big and a hike worth taking to put the entire area into perspective.

When I came back the old couple was gone my guess is they climbed down and walked around the plug. But they did not stay it was fairly warm out and the hike can be strenuous depending on where you go or how you take on this crater. I thought this was a cool place to do and it will be a great addition on our website eventually. While I may operate a paranormal site were not all strictly paranormal. We try to bring our viewers mystical remote scenic locations also that lets the public ponder a little and think on it. This crater will get you thinking and so onward we went below the crater to Navy and South Mono Beach to see some Tufas.

Navy and South Tufa Beach

For my first time I was going to stand on the shores of Mono Lake. I have to say from far away and being on the shores here are two different worlds. When you pull up there is a split if you go left you go to South Tuffa if you go right you go up to Navy Beach. I wanted to at least see both but South Tufa is where you see all the towering calcite formations. I decided to get out though and read the plaque which talks about this beach a little.

I guess Navy Beach was a secret military installation during the cold war which houses technicians, soldiers, scientist and sailors were stationed here. They did what is known as seismic weapon testing which is some serious shit just being honest. It was not just the Navy that operated this base other branches of the military operated out of here during the cold war but not many know about it. They probably tested watercraft to and trained their men in the salt water which is similar to the ocean so that sailors could accumulate some in case all out war broke out in the future.

The entire military base is gone the plaque said their are some remnants like foundations remaining. I never could find them because their is so much sage brush growing as tall as I am out there for miles. So those foundations are likely to be hidden from wandering eyes. I guess they tore down the base in the 1960's because other bases were growing, safety issues plus their were environmental concerns. This is a major protected site today due to the tufa formation.

The South Beach we went to first this is a huge parking lot I mean they give tours here. But they have restrooms and picnic benches so Tammy and I decided this would be a great place to have lunch at. I had fruit, pudding, chocolate, crackers, fresh eggs from my coop hard boiled, giant sub sandwiches and all sorts of treats. I could sit at the bench see craters and cliffs or the snowy sierras and even the lake with tufas everywhere. I am glad we stopped here to have lunch although the sea gulls and birds were getting to be annoying and trust me they do not fear people so watch your food well. But if your not eating this is a great place to birdwatch as I photographed a few while birding here also during my hike after.

There is a trail its about a mile or so loop where it heads north to the shore and between dozens of Tufas. We wanted to take the loop so we could see the formations and hang out on the shore for awhile. So off we went to see some of our Tufas and the first towering set of them were at least 12' in height and they feel similar to stalactites in my opinion. Its a really cool area but keep in mind it cost 3 dollar per adult to see them so you do have to pay to be here but worthy once you see these things. Their is a boardwalk which goes on out to the beach so fairly easy hiking and a good mile trail to get you some good exercise. Of course I hiked over 2 miles at Panum so the miles were stacking on up.

It did not take Tammy and I long to get to the shore of the lake. Along the way are different markers which signify the lake level and the date. Thirty years ago the lake came up to the parking lot nearly and today the water as receded nearly a half of mile. If you pay attention you will see a chain of volcanic islands to called Paoha being the largest then two smaller islands Negit and Gaines.

There are dozens not even dozens but a few hundred Tufa towers which are calcium carbonate spires formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and the alkaline lake water. All tufas are formed in the lake and if you look out into the water you will see these towers peering out as they are forming. While half of the tufas are now on dry land because the water has receded. This is an odd places there are hundreds of underground springs which rise up into the lake forming these spires made of minerals.

Honestly, I felt like I was in Europe or roaming some ancient castle ruins it was a bit surreal here. My mouth was open in awe as I smoked my pipe hiking along the trail. I love to smoke bud while exploring do not care what others think I am here for the journey and to live so if you want to live go for it this is the place to do it. I read that the lake is over a million years old so that would making it one of the oldest lakes in North America which would make sense since Tufas take thousands of years to form.

We would reach the lake shore there is many inlets, coves etc etc all surrounded by these Tufas and towers. I think one of the Tufas I seen had to be almost 20' in height so its a no joke type of place. But its an important place since two million birds migrate here and come to feed at Mono Lake every year. When we got to the shore I felt small this is a 65 square mile lake yeah not as big as Tahoe but its close nor is it as deep. Its deepest point within the lake is 160' and if you stand on Panum Crater you can see this dark blue water towards the NW but near the middle of the lake.

The water was fairly calm not choppy at all as I scoured the shoreline. The beach was kind of sandy we were all alone for awhile. Its a very interesting shoreline as you walk through these spires or go out on a peninsula full of them. When the miners came here the old timers claimed that this water had healing benefits and qualities. For years salts and minerals been washing into the lake from the Eastern Sierra Streams. Freshwater then evaporates each year from the lake leaving those salts and minerals behind which makes it four times saltier then the ocean really. But you would never know it unless you swim then your very buoyant.

The water was not what I expected its not very clear almost greenish in color and their is a ton of algae which you can see 15' from the shoreline. Its full of trillions of brine shrimp their is not many predators that will eat them perhaps birds but that is it. But man your at the bottom of the basin here so when you look off to the west you can see the high sierras all covered in snow and forest. You just feel so small because when your at the bottom of the basin your looking at mountains rising thousands of feet up above this lake.

We would set up the tripod took some nice pictures of Tammy and I. We were alone for awhile here then a tour bus came I could see it in the distance with what appeared to be over 50 college students maybe since they all seemed to be kids in there 20's then again who knows. But these tours they give are short lived they might give you twenty minutes to go see a couple Tufas and I know this because when they arrived we were hiking back along the loop. Within a few minutes they were loaded up when I arrived and begin to leave the parking lot in my truck. If you do not have time to at least hike the trail then its not worthwhile their are so many great formations to see at south beach.

We would leave but I was in awe you sort of did not want to go this is a special place worthy of a picnic, hike and journey. Lots of birds, light breeze off the lake, beautiful formations and views. What is their not to like? Our next leg of the journey would take us to a ghost town known as Mono Mills. Before I left for the ghost town I did take a split in the road which takes you down onto Navy Beach.

When I arrived here it was a bit of a let down there was no tufas hell not much of anything but a marshy shoreline probably a haven for ticks because there was a ton of brush along the beach. I did not see any foundations, tufas or anything special other then Although half of the beach had a huge sandy area with grass which might be a nice area to have a picnic or swim which seems to be where folks go if they want a bit of serenity. But south Mono beach is a stone throw away so I took a nice panarama here of both linking the two beaches together as one!

Mono Mills California

When you head out of the Tufa Beach you make a left down the highway and it begins to skirt around the lake to the Southeast. All of sudden you begin to leave the high desert and enter the Inyo National Forest. Unlike other national forest nearby that I have hiked in the Inyo is not as dense just plenty of tall thin trees that are evenly spread out so you can see very far back into the woods great if your looking for Sasquatch.

The SE side of the lake is all woods and national forest its amazing when you think about how you go from being in the desert to a forest in a whim but you do at Mono Lake. But the forest was nice it was cooler and gave us much needed shade for this time of the day.

Within about five to ten minutes of journeying you come up on a huge sign that says Mono Mills. You can park and walk a little ways to the base of this massive ravine and this gazebo which has quite a few good reads about the history of this ghost town. This was a lumber town that is why the trees are not as large here because they nearly deforested the area but it has made a come back.

Their was a railroad here it ran from Mono Mills all the way to Bodie and I believe Aurora. I have done both ghost towns so yes you can see the connection here. All the projects we do have some sort of connection to other locations we have done over the years so its really a grand master of a project here.

The forest is Lodge Pole and Jeffery Pines which when I looked at old photos they cleared the entire town of them. You can actually see many structures along this ravine but today all of them are gone and nothing is left. I have heard that if you hike around the woods on both sides of the ravine you can find remnants of the town but who knows.

If you look at the bottom of the ravine below the historic plaque you will see remnants of a saw mill site, skids and railroad. As a matter in fact all you will see is a concrete foundation, some stone blocks, mangled rusty pieces of metal and a few wood beams. I did not slide or climb down into the ravine. But the skids were more like slides placed along the sides of the ravines so the trees could be slide down the steep side of it and then get processed in the saw mill loaded onto a rail car shipped off to Bodie or Aurora. Both were big cities in the 1800's but they also now are BIG ghost towns.

Their is also on the site a stone memorial and then you can look at a bunch of old time photos of the town itself if you like reading the history. The gazebo probably has about 12 different signs behind glass which show pictures of the lumber town, railroad and has loads of historic info. Its a nice little set up a bit disappointed that more of this town does not remains.

Can you imagine you travel via wagon hundreds of miles to end up here? Then you find out that you cannot fish in the lake this camp was built on. The camp sat right above Mono Lake and you can see the lake between the trees. If you look straight down the ravine you can also see Mono Lake. So it was a very short walk from the saw mill to the lake shore from here yet what would be the point you could not fish in it. Sure it was a great view this was a lake front lumber town but you could not drink the water either.

Supposedly there use to be a turntable at the end of the ravine with a water tank and engine house. The engines could go into the ravine then go in reverse. Then the table would spin it around facing it again towards Bodie it was a real nice setup. I am not sure if anything remains of the engine house and turntable often called the "Armstrong". I read there are remnants of it but when I stood above the ravine and looked down it further all I could see its brush growing here and there. But at one time the turntable sat at the opening to the ravine and then you had tracks that went all the way up to the sawmill and skids.

I enjoyed being in the woods above the lake it was serene so serene you could hear a pin drop. Not one vehicle even passed by this place during our exploration. It was so quiet and there was this mild breeze blowing through the trees with beautiful lake views to the north it was simply stellar. While Mono Mills may have been a lumbering town to the north of the lake is another ghost town on Mono Lake I did last year ago high up in the mountains called Monoville which is a gold mining camp. Monoville is far more extensive then Mono Mills but both were two examples of the types of towns which once resided on Mono Lake and today are long gone Ill have to include photos of both ghost towns on our website when this location gets indicted in a couple years.

We could not stay here long we had so much more work to be done. My only regret is I did not roam the woods enough. I believe if you hike around you probably will find some remnants of Mono Mills like a wood board or a tin can type of thing but today nature has taken this place back. The Jeffery Pines and Lodgepoles in the area are making a comeback. In this patch of national forest on a hill just above the southeast side of the lake. We would then move onto our next site which is known as the Grave of Adeline Carson Stilts.

Before I visited her grave I tried to go to Old Marina is on the west end of the lake. I ended up turning around there had to be hundreds of people there cooking out, walking around in swim shorts, kids playing etc. The place was packed and on top of it the fees for Tufa South Beach do not cover the fees to get into Old Marina which is dumb really. I mean both sites are technically near one another and are similar to state parks. You pull up fill out the card put the money in a drop box and leave the other half hanging up in your window. Not sure what Old Marina offers its historic but it does not have anything left although there are some Tufas you can see here just not as many as South Beach.

Grave of Adeline Carson Stilts

When you get back into Lee Vining there are a few historic sites. I pulled off at one of them which turned out to be private property or belong to some residence and inn. But nearby on the side of the road near this restaurant is a grave site of a famous explorers daughter.

Kit Carson had a daughter her name was Adeline he often called her Prairie Flower and supposedly was his favorite child. She came to Mono Diggins aka Monoville which again is a ghost town we visited last year ago during our first major expedition near Mono Lake. As a matter in fact she came to this town in 1858 with her husband. She died in the winter of 1859 at the age of 21 at the Wilson Ranch which was the home of some friends.

I remember when I was 21 years of age I am sure most of you do. This was a young girl who traveled the west. I mean the trip up to Monoville was not an easy one it was filled with cliffs, big rocks and rugged terrain. But she came to this area and she laid eyes on this lake which is a grim reminder to those who visit here that this is an unforgiving wilderness or at least it was when pioneers first came here. Winters were harsh so harsh in fact that Bodie himself froze to death while leaving Monoville to head back to his town.

The grave resides near highway 395 just a few feet from the road. Its this giant rectangular concrete block which stands about six feet in height. On top of the block is a stone with a plaque on it. I would assume that the stone at the time marked her grave and the county decided to raise it up higher and attach the plaque to it so you could read who was buried here which of course is Mrs Stilts.

While this may not be a major site it was apparent that the Wilson Ranch was nearby so when she died they buried her nearby. There are quite a few old ranches near Mono Lake as a matter in fact last year I did two historic ranches which we explored. Again you can see the connections I am trying to make in my research when it pertains to this area.

The Wilson's were a prominent family at the time even they named the creek after them which brings much of the necessary water to other ranches nearby. I cant say where the Wilson Ranch was located I mean you have newer homes and ranches in this area. But on a hill side above where Adeline is buried across the road I did notice an old cart bran or maybe some other kind of outbuilding. Its very old nearly falling apart all made of wood. It is ashamed that Kit Carson lost his daughter but the sierras were no joke winters were harsh and it poured on over into the Mono Basin below them.

Our next location would also deal with death as well we would go to the Mono Cemetery again another great location right above the lake. All day long I worked hard to visit places near or above the lake because when we add this to our site its going to be HUGE and you will have access to allot of good material trust me.

Mono Lake Cemetery

The cemetery is back around the NW end of the lake as I was starting to work my way back north since we had to go north to go home. There is a place though not to far from the Adeline gravesite where a small cemetery resides. Its not the most historic it dates back to 1906 so its not very old.

I just pulled on up inside the cemetery along the edge of this hill which overlooks the Sierra Nevada's. Tammy decided to take a nap which is fine because my goal was to walk around the cemetery taking some EVP while enjoying the views. The cemetery sits on a hill overlooking some smaller ranches and the lake.

Its not a very big cemetery its strange because you have the 1906 grave which I found then nothing till the 1920's. There is about 270 graves here and I read 60 graves that cannot be identified or have no gravemarker at all. Near the 1906 grave is a wrought iron enclosure with a gravestone that was smashed to pieces and it looks very old also.

When you enter the cemetery there is a wood sign that says Mono Lake Cemetery with a flag. But if you go through that entrance just a short distance away is the American Legion Auxiliary Memorial that has the names of 91 veterans. Not all the names can be found on tombstones in this cemetery. But the memorial is really nice with two large American flags and two smaller ones with giant boulders below the plaque.

Their is about four rows or roads that go through the cemetery each row being lined with trees. Also the eastern edge of the cemetery is lined with rows of trees as well. Almost every inch of this cemetery has been utilized here for burials but the western end has an entire aisle with only a few grave markers.

This is a diverse cemetery there are angels, benches, crosses, upper burials, wrought iron enclosure family plots and even boulders for markers. There is at least three to four statues most of them are angels but there is one of a saint. There is one row full of shrubs and when you walk past them you will hear rustling do you know what that is? Lizards! Yes lots of lizards running around this place lol.

Their is no grass growing in this cemetery its all dirt and rocky terrain. Many of the plots have rocks surrounding them to outline a loved ones grave site. Some are burial mounds of rocks or shallow graves anotherwards. It appears their is a great diverse amount of religion here then again you do not have many options as Mono Basin has very few graveyards so if you live here chances are you are going to be buried here.

The basin does not hold a high population mostly small farms surround the lake so the cemetery does not get much use often but over the years many of the residents buried here lived on this lake and in this basin. Its not a fancy cemetery I mean the entire burial ground is surrounded by chain link fencing. I also seen a cement homemade grave marker and another one with no date that may have been older then the 1906 gravestone. No less the cemetery is over a century in age so in a sense its historic to the region just not as old as some of the cemeteries that I explore in ghost towns.

Most of the graves are marble or granite also many newer stones dating back to the past ten to twenty years. This could be because the basin is growing in population and new homes are being built out here. Back in the day there were two towns Monoville and Mono Mills where did they bury there dead? Definitely not in this cemetery and in some cases like with Adeline they were just buried right by the ole wagon road or out in a field near the lake.

While I was doing my investigation some caretaker showed up parked his truck in the center of the cemetery and was cleaning up leaves with a rake. It is nice to see that this cemetery is being maintained as it should be. I do not always see that on my journeys and this cemetery has very little vandalism. However, some other guy showed up out of the blue with his dogs and I was on the east end he did not see me. Well my truck was to the west end and Tammy was sleeping when I caught this dude trying to take a peek at her and look into my truck not very wise that idiot did not even see me standing there totally watching him in the act which is a no no plus I am armed.

People are shady if they think they wont get caught preying on a woman they will rape, rob and murder. Of course she is safe taking a nap because she knows I am not far away and I wasn't. Id say I was about 100' maybe less away. As soon as I begin to head towards my truck the idiot ran with his little ugly ass dogs. People are creepy man especially when I go to these rural areas they get nosy but they also think its okay to be snooping.

 It reminds me of the time my kids were napping in my car at night in a ghost town and two creepy dudes are all looking in my windows. They never seen my kids but my kids were scared when these guys were all trying to look in. I was sitting a 100' above the car on a rock chilling out in the dark and I yell down to the dude if you do not keep moving on ill put a bullet in your head. I had to these strangers had no reason to ever look in my vehicles windows what if I was sleeping in my vehicle for the night or if it was some lady who just decided to take a nap in her car?

So words of the wise folks if you decide to go rural you should try to be armed pepper spray, knife, gun or even a taser but bring something because out there in the bush their is no law enforcement you are the only thing that stands between you and that perp. When I am out in ghost towns or rural I never snoop in peoples cars I have seen folks take a nap somewhere or they are like me exploring and they might be resting for awhile. Tammy was resting I decided to do more research and I let her go back to sleep so I could bring you guys this cemetery. But at what cost? Being a paranormal explorer also means I have to deal with so many different situations and this is just an example of another one I had to cross.

While the cemetery may not have been haunted their is an angel statue I really love here. Most of the stones are kind of small if your looking for fancy stones or ones that are 6' tall you wont find it here. Its very park like of course the guy with his dogs knows this that is why his dogs are shitting on peoples graves so that right there tells me the type of people who come here. No less its a nice place lots of flowers on the graves even some wild ones growing.

But the sun was almost behind the sierras actually half of it was behind this peak shining down onto this cemetery. It was bright and you guys know I do not do well with extreme sunlight conditions which is why I wear sunglasses most of the time. Our time as short we still had to go to a place called the Black Fissure Site. By then Tammy was awake told me she heard footsteps approach the truck and then became aware of this guy. I mean he had the entire cemetery to walk around in yet he chooses to go up to my truck where she was resting come on now!

Mono Black Point Fissures

If you continue past the cemetery there is signs for a place known as Black Point. Its just another region of Mono Lake not many folks are aware of it. But the rocks found here are often orange and yellow near the northern shore. Black Point is a low volcanic hill and was formed due to an underwater eruptions. Do not get me wrong this was an amazing volcano when it blew 13,000 years ago following the last ice age when the lake was five times its size and ten times deeper which would have meant that Mono Lake was at that time 1,600' in depth.

People visit the Black Fissures for its slot canyons which are only a few feet wide and perhaps 50' in depth which resemble many locations found in Southern Utah folks like to call narrows. Black Point is a great area if your looking for the grand view. Below it are Tufas that are harder to get to which means less people are around to see them and its all free of charge unlike the other areas. I read the fissures are caused by rapid cooling of ejected material.

The hill the volcano created was composed of ash and brownish yellow conglomerate which you can see from a distance even from the cemetery I just came from if you know where to look for this site. The canyon walls are enlivened by patterns caused by evaporations and rainwater staining the mineral laced canyon walls. When you get to the top there is black point from afar and this overall flat plateau which protrudes a little ways out into Mono Lake. So if you were to stand on it you could see over the lake technically to both the east and west.

The road going up here sucks its so narrow and overgrown that at times my truck was touching both sides of the brush which in turn scratches my paint. But their is no turning around so be warned you take this road your stuck on it for at least a mile as it switch backs to the top. Well there is a turn around area but its where the road for 65' is in bad shape with these holes, wash outs, ripples etc. But its the only area to turn around but also in my opinion a better area to park and hike the rest of the way on in.

You start off taking a flat road for hundreds of feet then it switchbacks and the same thing a few hundred feet then it switchbacks. You will climb at least five hundred feet but the spiky bushes get real annoying. You cant go fast you have to maneuver the vehicle to fit between the brush without scraping and that takes a bit of concentration. I think I only scraped a three times taking these roads but I went very slow and at times if brush was protruding outwards I would have to try to go around it with no room to spare. At one time I had to break a few limbs to get through.

Tammy seen a very fat desert rat I mean this brush is so thick there has to be thousands of rats in there so be forewarned you do not want to be stuck out here especially at night unless you are okay with rodents. But what is worst in that brush is ticks. Yes ticks have finally reached the deserts of Nevada and California. A few years ago they were unheard of. But since the brush was nearly touching the insides of our trucks window we believe this is where Tammy had gotten her tick. Later when we went home she fixed the sleeve on her shirt and a tick came running down her arm it was a baby but that is the only place we can think she got it from because the brush was within an inch from the trucks window where she was resting her arm.

Anyhow after my climb the last section is this uneven jeep road yes you can roll your vehicle even bottom out. I decided not to take it even if I made it up going down could be a disaster as steep and uneven as it is. I was going to park here and just hike the rest of the way on in. I walked up the hill to the top of the last section of this road and when you get to the top its all flat and the road continues to head on out to the fissure site. Hell the brush is not even as bad up there or as close together on the road its just below black point where its bad. But I had some nice views and I could see the massive plateau in the distance with quite a few fissures. I did a little film up here but I did not get a chance to explore the slot canyons or narrows.

The rocky promontory to the east was merely a quarter to a half of mile away. You could see the summit plateau. I read there is two main sections of the enclosed fissure one branches a few times and becomes very deep in the middle with walls lined by knobbly encrustation's and white staining. The other extends right to the cliffs edge  and is deeper less colorful which contains rocks you have to climb over. Supposedly there is a tiny fissure nearby which is to narrow to get through and becomes so deep that if you throw a stone down into the fissure it takes about four seconds of nonstop bouncing before it reaches the bottom.

The closest I would get is seeing the yellowish cliffs we were almost at 7k here. I ran back to tell Tammy I found it but we both decided not to hike it in because by the time we would grab our gear it would almost be dark. Its pointless to be in a slot canyon a few feet wide in the dark and not be able to see all the pretty volcanic fissures or walls within the canyon so we decided to go home. It was her birthday and getting late we still had to go to dinner and throw her birthday party here it was almost 8pm at night. So you guess it I had to take this road out of here same thing drive real slow and try to salvage the paint on my truck. I did a fine job and man those cliffs looked yellow at sunset so close yet so far sighs. Another 800 feet up a dirt road and we would have been there but again what good is such a scenic wonder if its dark out?

I do plan on returning here but I may have to use my jeep coming up in a few months because I have other locations in this region to check out so I may be able to take a couple hours out of that journey to take on this place. I do want to get up in the slot canyon and get scenic shots of Mono Lake. This is the best area to see the islands of Mono Lake close up without actually boating to the island. Hell you cant boat to the island most of the year anyhow due to birds nesting there more then half the year and its a protected site. So if you want to get a good view of those islands you stand on the cliffs of Black Point!

I hated driving away from here after working so hard to get so close ya know? I could see it out my window driving out of here but eventually I came out on the cemetery road fairly unscathed. It was over a two hour drive back home I was beat. You see I was up for almost two days I spent all night long decorating and wrapping fits for the birthday party then when I was done I left before sunup to Mono Lake so I had very little rest. Lucky for me I own a brand new Californian King bed so I was looking forward to hitting the mattress after the birthday party!

Tammy's Afterhours Birthday Party 11pm

When we got into town I ditched the nice dinner at Chili's or Applebees sorry Tammy lol. Instead we grabbed Panda then took it back. It was easy to obtain and we could at least pick out what we wanted with our meals. Tammy did not seem to mind it then again she is pretty simple or easy to please. Id preferred to sit down somewhere have a few drinks which is something we do after many of our explorations, hikes and paranormal investigations.

I was so tired after this trip here it is almost midnight and I am singing happy birthday lol. I gave Tammy this Hershey chocolate cake with these candles that give off different color flames. She was spoiled for her birthday and really I have no issue spoiling her because she helps me with whatever I need on our investigations and explorations. Whether that is with the tripod, taking photos or video recording me etc etc. Hell lucky for me she drove the last twenty miles into town I could not take it anymore I have nerve issues in my neck and they were getting so painful they were shooting into my shoulder and arm so yeah she gets spoiled for sure!

She had two giant bags of gifts, presents on the table and even a brand new wicked fishing pole. She made out quite well for her birthday she had gotten brand new sneakers that make you feel like your walking on air, a hoodie pink camo, bouquet of orange roses and other flowers, flame light, candles, oil for her mist burner, incense, tshirts, tons of paints, paint brushes, pallet set for her paints, wax cubes, awesome backpack, multi functional flashlight hand held lamp, steel pink mug, ps4 game, pure leather purse, two necklaces, chocolate, candy and that is not even half of it all lol.

I was dozing off while taking photos of her opening gifts no wonder the photos were so blurry but man it had been a long day. I drove nearly three hundred miles, was up for two days and now boasting a birthday party so yeah tired. But I made it through her birthday even black summer a zombie netflix show while eating my Chinese food so ill pat myself on the back lets not try to do that again all at once yikes lol. The cake was awesome though oh man triple chocolate with Hersheys syrup in between layers it was sinful. I also made Tammy the next day a really nice steak dinner so she got the works believe me.

I wish more people would join our group you might just get the works to but see folks do not want to participate or help out in my group. I might be getting my own paranormal adventure show soon but those that did not join my team all these years or help me will not be brought on because if its my show I get a say who I can bring on here and there. I wont bring a soul on who has not put effort into our group. The research we do is to educate people so they can use our site as a guide in case they want to visit the places we go. Some high schools in this area also utilize our site the students write term papers and they use our site even teachers use our website.

We work hard at our adventures this was not a paranormal trip does not mean that I did not photograph a ghost or get an EVP of one or maybe capture a UFO. It just means I was not out there looking for it this was more of a historical adventures which has connections to other places we have done some haunted some not. I love the Bridgeport Mono Lake area I mean you have Bodie, Mills, Cemeteries, Mines, Ghost Towns, Lakes and wicked scenery to top it all off. Hell Bridgeport is a nice little town they have this one restaurant that I love eating at but we did not go there because we decided to get back into town so we could party a little to finish off the night after a hard days of adventuring.

Normally when its a birthday we always choose a cool adventure its kind of like a birthday gift to yourself. Well my birthday is coming up so who knows what ill have planned up my sleeve but it will include some adventuring similar to like what we did with Mono Lake, Godzilla and some partying in between lol. It also may include a nice massage by the oriental women at the parlor and some fun too. You have to live a little you never know if you will be alive tomorrow and the one thing my group teachers others is how to do that.

Mono Lake is going to make a wonderful addition on our website. I will connect or hot link all he locations together as one it should be one of the missing pieces on our site because we have done projects around here except around the lake itself. Its like that last missing piece of the puzzle so folks can see all the great things this area offers but also the basin/lake itself. I do plan on going back were not done yet and well since this is the gateway into Yosemite you have to go through here to go up into the pass. Folks have no idea how close Yosemite is but lets put it this way their is a place called Mono Dome its just west of the lake on the other side of a peak and these domes are all part of the national park.

I remember seeing this lake for one of my first times and was wowed by it really. I mean I had seen it briefly even drove through here at night. But my Yosemite trip back in 2012 was unbelievable what a grand adventure I climbed this waterfall and went in this cave squeezing through small chambers. I also seen another nearby ghost town just up the road from Mono in the Tioga Pass known as Bennettville. Which is so close so the area offers so much to see and do.

Not many folks even know it but Bigfoot and other creatures of lore roam in these parts of the sierras which run very steep right along Highway 95 overshadowing the lake. Their is this one creature which is similar to the rake they call Penelope which roams along the Tioga Pass and probably the woodsy mountains along the lake. The same creature we ran into up near Hobart Lake above Carson City so again during my research I make all sorts of connections. I have also seen video footage of stick like beings in Yosemite so if they are seen deeper in the park they probably also are above Mono Lake since the basin borders this national park.

 I mean this area offers it all paranormal, history, adventure etc. I can only imagine what the first pioneers had to endure here this basin is rugged, vast and unique in every way geologically and historically since the day the first European explorers laid eyes on it! When I explorer I take everything as a whole but I try to envision what life was like when the first explorers came here. They would have technically seen the same things I had seen or experienced only difference was the time period and the fact that we have vehicles. But man the snow on the mountains in the middle of May and this adventure was top notch. In reality Tammy picked this location I just did the research and put the journey together which was very rewarding!

I look forward to seeing more ghost towns, mines, historic sites, scenic wilderness areas etc etc out here in this region as long as the Mono-Inyo chain of craters does not blow. I have some kick ass locations will be doing up here these next few years so you do not want to miss out and we hope by sharing our work we can give our viewers a chance to be a part of something greater or feel at least they are part of it because of how we convey and share our work due to our hard earned research.

But this project was special folks we covered everything along the lake shore and while I did not get to explore the slot canyons I made it hundreds of feet away from Black Point and its fissures. I know their is much more to see and were far from done! While their may not have been paranormal their was a wild western adventure to be had and I even wore my knew cowboy hat for this occasion. This is an amazing region of California and its burned as an image in my head forever because this place will leave a lasting impression on you! Thank you everyone for reading about my adventure woooo wild wild west baby!
Lord Rick

PS All reports are rough drafts till they get indicted on our website which generally takes a couple years so they are subject to renditions and changes in the future.
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