Mono Lake, CA/Whoa Nellie!

On the way out of Yosemite, we drove through a mountain wind tunnel as we descended down out of the Sierras.Looking back at the High Sierras

The US National Park Website describes them this way: “When a high pressure system is over the Great Basin, the clockwise movement of air pushes up and over the Sierra and picks up speed as it rushes down the western slopes. The rugged topography funnels some of that air, further increasing the speed and intensifying localized effects. The Mono Winds can easily reach 50 mph and in extreme cases exceed 100 mph.”

Mono Lake


These “Mono Winds” whoosh down to Mono Lake and let me tell you, it’s like standing outside in a hurricane (at least it was the day we were there).



The car was parked between two other cars and it was rocking from side to side as I sat in it. We decided to get out and go to the top of a rise overlooking Mono Lake, just to experience the wind. It was crazy windy; at one point I had to literally throw myself against a large boulder to keep from being blown over. As I did so, I looked to my right and saw a seagull, stuck here as well after having landed and then realizing he wasn’t going to be able to take off again until the wind died down. Mono Lake Seagull


We were Mono Wind buddies for quite a while. He was still there when I left several minutes later.



There was a concrete/rock conglomerate boulder into which had been bolted several informative plaques about the lake’s name, geography and history.

Mono Lake Plaques SDC13887 (2)

SDC13886 (2)

There’s also this awesome restaurant at the base of the hill that is named perfectly:

Whoa Nellie Deli

When we left, we had to stop at the intersection to the highway that runs alongside Mono Lake. There was a couple on a motorcycle and two vehicles in front of us. As we sat in our car, swaying back and forth in the continual wind gusts, the motorcycle suddenly fell over, tossing the passenger off and landing partially on top of the driver. They recovered pretty quickly, remounted and drove off as soon as the road was clear. Mono Winds win again!

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