I went out to Owens Lake for a story on dust mitigation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power back in April. When I did, Marty Adams and pretty much everyone else from the DWP I encountered were all eager to show me an area on the northeast side of the lake. Adams called it "the Owengeti."
The Serengeti is a grass-woodland in Tanzania and other countries in Africa, legendary for its beauty. (See, e.g., Toto, "Africa.") This 600-acre "Owengeti" is on the far side of the lake, away from Highway 395--unfortunate, says Adams, "because it's far from traffic. The average person sees the salt flats; they don't see the beautiful part on the east side."
There's plenty of crusty white powder near the "Owengeti," too. It crunches satisfyingly underfoot, though I also was immediately burdened knowing that I contributed to the possibility of the particulate, PM10, flying through the air. "It's like walking on the moon. except i thought the moon would be firmer," Adams said. "It's like a powdered sugar donut." (Though I sort of think it's more like Entemann's crumb cake.)
There's been a lot on the eastern Sierra lately, on this blog. I just wanted to make a quick pitch for the fascinating resource that is the Eastern California Museum.
I was in this spot the other day-but I couldn't tell till later. If you listened to my story on the radio today you heard Mike Prather talking about a river mosaic - "Wetlands and meadows, closed tree canopies, shrubby understory, cattail bullrush tule-type things." This first picture now lives in the Eastern California Museum; it was taken by Andrew A. Forbes, who had a photography shop in Bishop between 1902-1916. Where these willows and cottonwoods were doing their thing before the 1920s, we've now got tule, tule, tule.
This next one, I snapped. The guy in red is Larry Freilich - Inyo County water department's mitigations projects manager, and I'm facing slightly sideways, while the picture above is facing downstream. But it's pretty close to the same spot.