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Viewing posts for the category Interesting Natural Feature

Mono Lake State Natural Reserve, California, USA

About 15 miles east of Yosemite's Tioga Pass East entrance is Mono Lake.  One of North America's oldest lakes, Mono Lake is over a million years old and 2.5 times the ocean's salinity.  The lake had grown in salinity as it has shrunken in volume, as its tributary streams got diverted to meet the demands of Los Angeles’ growing water needs. Tufa – the rock that these towers are made of, are formed underwater, as underwater calcium-rich springs meet with the lake water rich in carbonates.  Calcium carbonate precipitates out of the water forming tufa towers.  Tufa towers grow underwater up to 30 feet high.  We see so much of it today because of receding lake water levels.  There is a short flat unshaded trail (about 1 mile) that meanders through these sculptures.  It is a pretty neat trail, to be walking amongst these giant oddly shaped rocks.  We had a quick lunch in the shade of one of these rocks. 

Uvas Canyon, Morgan Hill, California , USA

If you’re looking for a hike to escape a hot day near Silicon Valley, Uvas Canyon is the place for you. Uvas Canyon offered us a tree canopy that kept us well-shaded and the sounds of gently falling water alongside most of our hike. Waterfall Loop Trail offers a short ~1 mile trail past 3 of the park's named waterfalls, over and alongside many rocks and trees covered in bright green moss.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California, USA

Known as California’s largest State Park, Anza -Borrego is located about 3 hours southeast of Los Angeles (or 2 hours northeast of San Diego).  Our first stop was at the Visitor Center which displayed fossils found in the area. Replicas of 6 foot long mammoth tusks and giant tortoise shells are displayed. There is a short interpretive trail directly in front of the Visitor Center that features the different types of cacti found in the desert. 

Devil’s Punchbowl, Pearblossom, California, USA

We arrived for our hike at Devil’s Punchbowl just before 5pm. It was a short 1 mile loop hike so we were comfortable with starting the hike later in the day. The trailhead started just past the Visitor Center. To the right of the trailhead, there is an amphitheater view of the Punchbowl area below. The rocks below were almost scalloped in shape and pushed up on its side at almost 90 degree angles. These rocks were tilted to their present angles by activity along nearby faults. The view from the top was amazing.

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, Agua Dulce, California, USA

Not too far from Los Angeles (less than an hour), lies the magnificent slanted rocks of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, a 900-acre County Park. Massive rocks pushed up to 50 degree angles greeted us less than a mile from the Visitor Center.  The Vasquez Rocks are a geological wonderland.