Eastern Mojave Vegetation Field Notes (Continued)  
 

Tom Schweich  

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Literature Cited
 When I first read the field notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg, I was fascinated by the descriptions they wrote about the places they went and the plants and animals they found there. By publishing my field notes on the Internet I hope to follow a little bit in their tradition.
 

Mono Lake, August 2008

 
 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

 
  This morning my plan was to explore the geography south of Mono Lake and east of US Highway 395.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 near Pumice Mine Road
Full Size ImageView north in US Highway 395 from Pumice Mine Road.  

I drove to Pumice Mine Road (1S40), just south of June Lake Junction on US Highway 395.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 near Punch Bowl
Full Size ImageWilson Butte from Pumice Mine Road, Mono County, California  

The first half mile or so of Pumice Mine Road are paved, looking like it is an older alignment of US Highway 395. The road then curves around the sand flat floor, in such a way that the Tom Harrison "Mammoth High Country" map is wrong.On the way to my first stop, Devil's Punch Bowl, there was a nice view of Wilson Butte.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 at Punch Bowl

Locations: Devils Punch Bowl.
Full Size ImagePunch Bowl, Mono County, California  

Devil's Punch Bowl, also known simply as Punch Bowl, is a small depression between two moderate size volcanic piles. You can drive right to the lip of the depression. There are several other depressions in the second volcanic pile to the northeast.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 near East Craters Sand Flat
Full Size ImageView of southwest portion of East Craters Sand Flat.  

Pumice Mine Road passes by the upper, or southwest, extension of East Craters Sand Flat.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S08 at 1S40 Forest Road 1S40 at 1S08
Full Size ImageWest end of Forest Road 1S08.  

I passed by the west end of Forest Service Road 1S08 on Pumice Mine Road.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 on Mono Craters
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road  

Continuing carefully on Pumice Mine Road, because this is a truck haul road for cinders from Mono Craters, there were some good afternoon views of East Craters Sand Flat. Unfortunately, this was a hazy morning, and the view into the sun and haze made photography difficult.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 on Mono Craters
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road  

View of East Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 on Mono Craters
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road  

View of East Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 on Mono Craters
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road  

View of East Craters Sand Flat from Pumice Mine Road.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S40 on Pumice Mine Rd
Full Size ImageHaul Truck on Pumice Mine Road  

Returning on Pumice Mine Road to Forest Road 1S08, a pumice hauling truck went by. Here, I set my GPS to NAD 1983 instead of WGS 1984. Most of my maps use NAD83 or NAD27 as does the GNIS and, at least in the western US, I don't see the point in using WGS84.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S08 at bottom of flat
Full Size ImagePlaya on East Craters Sand Flat.  

Turning east on 1S08, I stopped at the lowest point so that I could walk out to the little playa in this basin. The location was 37.82117° -119.00752°, 2332 m elevation. Here I collected a little buckwheat that was much in evidence through this volcanic tableland.

Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 554
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 554  
554  Eriogonum spergulinum A. Gray var. reddingianum (M. E. Jones) J. T. Howell, many in bloom, East Craters Sand Flat.

Other articles: Field Notes Coll. No. 559 on 13-Aug-08
Full Size ImageLittle plant in the pumice sand flats  

I also noticed a little plant that I think Calyptridium, but is long past flowering. Later I would collect this plant.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S08 about mid-way
Full Size ImageLooking west across East Craters Sand Flat on F. R. 1S08  

I continued across the sand flat, stopping for this photo looking back.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at FR 1S06, 1S08
Full Size ImageRoad Intersection  

Forest Road 1S08 ends at a junction of Bald Mountain Road (1S05) and the "120 Cutoff" (1S06). This location is also right above the Mono Craters tunnel.

Literature Cited:
- Jacques, H. L., 1940.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S06 over Mono Craters tunnel
Full Size ImageConstruction works for Mono Craters tunnel.  

There were some workings that I think must include a shaft to the tunnel, and some sort of water pumping installation.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S07 at edge of sand flat
Full Size ImagePumice Mine on Mono Craters across East Craters Sand Flat  

From here I went on to East Craters Sand Flat on 1S07. There were a few lupines here in flower and fruit, so I collected one. I assume these are L. duranii, but that will have to be verified.

Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 555
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 555  
555  Lupinus duranii Eastw.

#555 Lupine, East Craters Sand Flat, coordinates (37.83173 -118.98622 NAD83 2402 m). All material from the same plant.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S07 East Craters Sand Flat

Locations: East Craters Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat, looking southwest from the approximate center.  

Other articles: Forest Road 1N24 near divide

Locations: East Craters Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageEast Craters Sand Flat, looking south from the north end.  

I continued on a road, name probably 1N24, across the north end of East Craters Sand Flat. From this perspective, it is clear that most of the flat has an internal drainage. Only a very small portion at the extreme northern end drains into Mono Lake. Water from East Craters Sand Flat may move underground into Mono Lake, of course, appearing as springs on the lower slopes or under water.
  At the north end of East Craters Sand Flat, I was very surprised to see this Umbelliferae.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N24 near divide
Full Size ImageCollection No. 556
Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 556, Angelica lineariloba  

556  Angelica lineariloba A. Gray.

#556 Umbell. 37.85388° -118.98754° 2421 m

Full Size Image
Overview of Collection No. 556, Angelica lineariloba

Full Size ImageHow to distinguish between Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum and var. nevadense per FNANM.
Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 557, Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense
Full Size ImageOverview of Coll. No. 557, Eriogonum umbellatum var. nevadense  
557  Eriogonum umbellatum Torr. var. nevadense Gand. Sulphur-Flower Buckwheat.

Full Size ImageInflorescence of Collection No. 558, Eriogonum microthecum var. ambiguum
Full Size ImageLeaves of Collection No. 558, Eriogonum microthecum var. ambiguum
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 558, Eriogonum microthecum var. ambiguum  
558  Eriogonum microthecum Nutt. Var. ambiguum (M. E. Jones) Reveal. Slender Buckwheat.

Other articles: Field Notes 13-Aug-08, Coll No. 559 20090707150583
Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 559
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 559  

559  Calyptridium umbellatum, sterile collection.
  I drove back to the divide at the north end of East Craters Sand to check the geographic location. It was: 37.80990°, -118.96841°, NAD 1983.
  I wandered around for a while in the area east of East Craters Sand Flat, on roads 1S42 and 1S43. The maps of this area are incorrect because the roads have been re-routed to keep vehicles off of the small sand flat in section 23.
  Then I returned to Bald Mountain Road. In this section, above the Mono Craters tunnel, I drove back and forth a couple of times, looking for the divide between the Mono Lake Basin and the Owens River Basin. The topography in this area is complex, probably caused by both faulting and volcanic activity.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 inside Mono Basin

Locations: Mono Basin.
Full Size ImageLooking into Mono Lake basin on Bald Mountain Road  

Mono Lake basin divide. Looking west on Bald Mountain Road (1S05).

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 outside Mono Basin
Full Size ImageLooking out of Mono Lake basin  

Mono Lake basin divide. Looking east on Bald Mountain Road (1S05).
  In reality, though, it probably does not make much difference whether the divide between the Mono Lake basin and the Owens River watershed can be accurately located. So far, I have seen no obvious significant changes in the vegetation across this volcanic tableland, and I doubt that placement of the boundary a mile (or kilometer) one way or the other would change the taxa listed in the checklist flora.
  I continued on Bald Mountain Road (1S05) to Bald Mountain Lookout. This is a fairly easy drive with just a few rocks on some upper steep slopes. The lookout was not staffed when I visited. I made lunch and sat in the shade of the lookout to eat.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at Bald Mtn Lookout
Full Size ImageLittle Sand Flat from Bald Mountain, California  

Little Sand Flat is visible …

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at Bald Mtn Lookout
Full Size ImageUnnamed sand flat south of Bald Mountain Road.  

... as well as other large unnamed sand flat to the south …
  Between them, the southern divide of Mono Lake basin is not obvious, being forested broken areas of internal drainage.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at Bald Mtn Lookout
Full Size ImageDeadman Creek basin from Bald Mountain, California  

A little farther to the west, the basin of Deadman Creek can be seen. This would be the northwest corner of the Long Valley Caldera.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at Bald Mtn Lookout
Full Size ImageOwens River from Bald Mountain
Full Size ImageOwens River from Bald Mountain  

Just off the mountain to the southwest is the headwaters of the Owens River and the Alpers' Owens River Ranch.
  There was also a nice view of Mammoth Mountain, the Sierra Crest, and Mono Craters. On the other hand, you can't see much of Mono Lake, and neither East Craters Sand Flat nor Big Sand Flat can be seen at all.
  Mileage 7965, 1:00 PM, leave Bald Mountain Lookout.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S05 at 1S88
Full Size ImageSouth end of Forest Road 1S88.  

Turned off of Bald Mountain Road (1S05) onto 1S88, a little road that crosses the south end of Little Sand Flat.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S88 at south end of Little Sand Flat

Locations: Little Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageSouth end of Little Sand Flat.  

Little Sand Flat is really pretty, as you can seen in this photo of the south end of Little Sand Flat. Mileage 7970.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S88 in Little Sand Flat
Full Size ImageSkunky Monkeyflower in Little Sand Flat  

There was a lot of Mimulus mephiticus in bloom, perhaps as a result of summer thunderstorms.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S88 on forested island
Full Size ImageLittle Sand Flat from burned forested island.  

From a fomerly burned forested island in the middle of Little Sand Flat, you can see the northern portion.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S13 Little Sand Flat

Locations: Little Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageMono Craters west of Little Sand Flat.  

View of Mono Craters across Little Sand Flat.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S13 at FR 1S06
Full Size ImageIntersection of 1S06 and 1S13  

Intersection of 1S06 and 1S13. Turned northeast on the "120 Cutoff," Forest Road 1S06, and drove to California Highway 120.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S06 near CA Hwy120
Full Size ImageIntersection of CA Highway 120 and "120 Cutoff Road," F. R. 1S06.  

View of intersection of California Highway 120 and the "120 Cutoff," Forest Road 1S06.
  Drove up the Taylor Canyon Road (1S17) to Pilot Spring Road (1S04), and then on to Pilot Spring.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S04 Pilot Spring

Locations: Pilot Spring.
Full Size ImagePilot Spring, Mono County, California  

There was no running water at Pilot Springs that I found.

Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 560
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 560  
560  Geum macrophyllum Willd. Large-Leaved Avens.

Pilot Spring, Mono County, California. 16.2 miles by air southeast of Lee Vining, 9.6 miles by air northwest of Glass Mountain. 37.8277°N, 118.871°W. WGS1984 Elev. 2655 m. In the creek bed under trees.

  Returned to Taylor Canyon Road, and drove to Crooked Meadows.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 near Crooked Mdws.
Full Size ImageCrooked Meadows from the north.  

The intersection of Taylor Canyon Road (1S17) and 1S56 appears to be in the Mono Lake basin divide. Dry Creek is to the north and Dexter Creek, draining Crooked Meadows is to the south.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 59900
Full Size ImageMcLaughlin Creek watershed  

Continued on Taylor Canyon Road (1S17) as far as a pass overlooking Sentinel Meadows and then turned back.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 62000
Full Size ImageCrooked Meadows  

View of the south end of Crooked Meadows.

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 at Crooked Mdw Spr
Full Size ImageCrooked Meadows Spring  

At Crooked Meadows Campground, there was a fairly large spring. (7985/280 Crooked Meadows Camp)

Other articles: Forest Road 1S17 in Crooked Mdws CG
Full Size ImageCrooked Meadows Campground  

The campground overlooks northern arm of Crooked Meadows.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Wild Horse Mdw

Locations: Wild Horse Meadow.
Full Size ImageWild Horse Meadow  

From Crooked Meadows, I headed across 1S56 to Wild Horse Meadow (Mileage 7988). Wild Horse Meadow drains into Dexter Creek.
  While on my way to Sagehen Meadow, I noticed a little road going in the direction of Sagehen Peak. Folloed to road all the way to the top. Although, I would have to say that the last 100 meters was a little hairy.

Other articles: Forest Road 1N02 at Sagehen Pk

Locations: Sagehen Peak.
Full Size ImageWild Horse Meadow from Sagehen Peak  

From the top of Sagehen Peak, was a good view of Wild Horse Meadow …

Locations: Glass Mountain.
Full Size ImageGlass Mountain from Sagehen Peak  

... Glass Mountain …

Locations: Dexter Canyon.
Full Size ImageDexter Canyon from Sagehen Peak  

... and Dexter Canyon.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow.
Full Size ImageSagehen Meadow from Sagehen Peak  

There must be a little bit of private land at Sagehen Meadow, as there is a house under construction.
  I stopped to get gas at Mobil Station, and returned to Aspen Camp about 4:15 PM.
 

Thursday August 14, 2008

 
  The June Lake Loop Trail Plan (2003) shows a trail up onto the glacier cut plateau on the southwest flank of Reversed Peak. Local residents call the ponds on this plateau "Snow Ponds," but the Geographic Names Information System does not recognize this name.
  Thinking I would go up to Snow Ponds, I parked below the water tank on North Side Drive. Walked up to the water tank. In retrospect, I could have driven up here. Now, I tried to figure out which way to go.
  Chose to follow the tracks around east side of ridge. This was a bad mistake. I ended up climbing the boulders on the ridge.

Other articles: Mono Lake Basin Flora at June Lake

Locations: June Lake.
Full Size ImageJune Lake from the north side  

The only reward were some nice views of June Lake …

Locations: Gull Lake.
Full Size ImageGull Lake from the north  

... and Gull Lake from above.

Full Size ImageMorainal plateau on flank of Reversed Peak  
Reaching the top of the boulder ridge, I had to bush-whack across a brush-covered moraine to reach …

Full Size ImageTrail  
... a small trail following the watercourses.

Full Size ImageEphemeral pond  
The trail crosses two morainal basins, and comes to first pond.
  Here I made three collections in the drying margin of the pond.

Locations: Snow Ponds.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 561, Taraxia tanacetifolia Tansy-Leaved Suncup
Full Size ImageColl. No. 561, Taraxia tanacetifolia  

561  Camissonia tanacetifolia (Torr. & A. Gray) P. H. Raven ssp. tanacetifolia, abundant.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 561, Taraxia tanacetifolia

Locations: Snow Ponds.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 562, Potentilla anserina ssp. anserina
Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 562, Potentilla anserina var. anserina  

562  Potentilla anserina L. ssp. anserina, less common.
Full Size Image
Overview of Collection No. 562, Potentilla anserina var. anserina

Full Size ImageDetail of Collection No. 563
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 563  
563  #563 Cryptantha, occasional, higher on the dry pond margin than the Camissonia and Potentilla.

Nama densum Lemmon var. densum. Leafy Nama.

Reversed Peak, Mono County, California. On the drying shore of natural ponds called “Snow Ponds” by local residents, south flank of Reversed Peak, about 1 mile northwest of Gull lake. 37.7853°N, 119.0976°W. WGS1984 Elev. 2683 m. Collected with Taraxia tanacetifolia and Potentilla anserina.

Other articles: Mono Lake Basin Flora Snow Ponds

Locations: Snow Ponds.
Full Size ImageSnow Ponds on the southwest flank of Reversed Peak.  

Climbed a small hill a little farther to the west to see the remaining ponds.

Full Size ImageUpper Rush Creek Canyon  
Farther to the west, I could see upper Rush Creek and the Gem Lake dam.

Locations: Reversed Peak.
Full Size ImageThe way up Reversed Peak.  

To the north, I could see the way to the top of Reversed Peak would include a lot of bush-whacking through the Bitterbrush and Sagebrush. Not to mention the southern exposure to the hot sun. There is no way I'm going to climb up there today.

Full Size ImageEphemeral pond, one of the Snow Ponds.  
Looking back to the east, I could see the first pond.

Full Size ImageLocation of my collections #561-563 at Snow Ponds  
I returned to the truck by way of the trail. The portion I missed on the uphill trip goes right down the watercourse. It is fairly steep, and composed of loose sand in some areas.

Other articles: California Highway 158 at Silver Lake

Locations: Silver Lake.
Full Size ImageSilver Lake  

Finding a good place for lunch can be difficult. You have to have the right mix of shade, peace, and space. Never did find the perfect place. The north end of Silver Lake had shade, a little space, but not much peace.
  After lunch, I headed down US Highway 395 for Wilson Butte and Hartley Springs. Turned off US Highway 395 at Glass Flow Road (2S10).

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 near Wilson Butte

Locations: Wilson Butte.
Full Size ImageWilson Butte from Glass Flow Road on the south side.  

Took this photo of Wilson Butte from the south.
  Drove up to Hartley Springs Campground. Along the way, noticed several groups that were "dispersed" camping. The campground itself had available sites on a Thursday afternoon, but the campground was quite dry and dusty.
  From Wilson Butte, drove over Deadman Summit to Owens River Road. Drove east looking for a place to see the Owens River. First, it was posted, with lots of warning signs. After a few miles, the signs stop, but the river is more than a mile away and there are no roads.

Other articles: Forest Road 2S07 near Glass Mrn

Locations: Glass Mountain.
Full Size ImageGlass Mountain, northeast wall of Long Valley Caldera  

View of Glass Mountain, and the northern wall of the Long Valley caldera from Owens River Road.
  So, I turned around and headed back to camp.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 near Deadman Creek
Full Size ImageUS Highway 395 just south of Crestview and Deadman Summit  

On the back I stopped for a few photos, including this one of US Highway 395 north past Crestview …

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 near Deadman Ck
Full Size ImageObsidian flow to west of US Highway 395  

... this one of an obsidian glass flow west of the highway …

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 near Deadman Ck
Full Size ImageBald Mountain from US Highway 395  

... Bald Mountain and its fire lookout …

Other articles: U. S. Highway 395 at Deadman Summit, south edge of Mono Basin

Locations: Deadman Summit.
Full Size ImageDeadman Summit in the southbound direction.  

... Deadman Summit …

Other articles: Mono Lake Basin Flora near Deadman Summit U. S. Highway 395 near Deadman Summit
Full Size ImageLooking north into the Mono Basin from Deadman Summit.  

... looking into the Mono Lake basin and at Wilson Butte from Deadman Summit.
  Back at camp I had a really nice nap, relaxed and read, and had dinner.
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Date and time this article was prepared: 5/18/2017 12:06:28 PM