Mono Lake

Mono LakeA few weeks ago, we drove over to Mono Lake, a massive salty lake on the eastern border of Yosemite. I had seen the lake from afar before, and I knew it would be pretty, but I was still surprised by the beauty of this place. Around sunset, the sky was a bright hazy glow and the water had become a milky white. It was a stunning sight paired with the distant mountains and the dramatic tufa towers on the shores of the lake.

Tufa at Mono LakeAccording to the Mono Lake Committee website:

Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate–limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.

Interesting!

Mono Lake Seagull Mono Lake Tufa Mono Lake Sunset

Yosemite Super Moon

Half Dome Yosemite Super MoonIt’s been ages since I’ve posted because I made the crazy decision to move to California and spend the summer living and working in Yosemite National Park.

That said, I figure it’s time to start sharing photos from my time here.

These are a few of the photos I took during the brilliant super moon last night in Yosemite. It was beautiful!  Trees in Super Moon LightMan Super MoonSuper Moon and Trees

Doodles of Guys

FriendThese are a few of the doodles that I’ve done over the past few weeks, which all happen to be of men. The first one was originally going to be of my friend, Tony, but I quickly gave up on the idea because he was having a conversation with people and I couldn’t really get a good look at him.

Jim

This second doodle, which I did on the plane ride home from Argentina, is of Jim. I think it’s funny because it looks like Jim, but a sort of alternate universe Jim where he has a longer head.ManThis last one I did during a meeting at work. Perhaps some of my co-workers will recognize it :)

Argentina in Film


While we were on vacation in Argentina I took some video, and I was finally able to put something together with the footage! I set it to the song Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes because Jim always says it’s our song, and also because I had the song in my head so often while we were there. Somehow the beauty of the landscape reminded me of the lyrics.

Glacier Doodle

Glacier Doodle

During our travels to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, I made several doodles to pass the time. Although this one looks simple, it probably took me about two hours to make it. Jim says it looks like a maze of glaciers. After finishing it, I realized he was right, which is weird because I started it before I’d ever even seen a glacier.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Tango

Plaster crumbling from colorful old buildings, rusty iron balconies, black and white tile all cracked and broken, tropical plants so big they might be monsters. These are some of the things you see when you look into the a hidden courtyard in Buenos Aires. These things transport you to another world, a time of the past, and give you a  glimpse at what Argentina might really be like: quiet, nostalgic, and somewhat falling apart.

El Obelisco

After our time in Patagonia, we headed up to Buenos Aires to enjoy the last few days of our vacation. On our first day there, we quickly discovered that the streets of Buenos Aires are quite different from these whispering courtyards. Instead the streets are bustling and modern, with black and yellow taxis zipping by and people, young and old, walking swiftly to unknown destinations. Perhaps they’re on their way to a corner cafe to have a coffee or to an afternoon meeting in the hectic micro-center.

Or maybe they’re just on an afternoon stroll through one of Buenos Aires’ beautiful neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character.

My favorite neighborhoods were San Telmo and Recoleta. San Telmo is located just south of the city center and has a sort of alternative flair, with lots of run down restaurants and antique shops. Peek into any storefront and you might see hundreds of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. The neighborhood is also the home of a huge the San Telmo market, which occupies an entire city block and is a great place to buy antiques of all kinds, as well as leather goods, fresh veggies, and delicious sandwiches.

La BocaGabino Coria Peñaloza

Nuestra Señora del Pilar

Recoleta, on the other hand is quite different from San Telmo. It’s a beautiful residential neighborhood famous for it’s Parisian-style architecture and many green spaces. We loved strolling through the heart of Recoleta, a series of central plazas full of people selling artisan crafts, street musicians, jugglers, and many residents and tourists relaxing on the grass for a picnic or a bit of yerba mate.

The trees in these plazas are especially amazing. Right when we stepped out of the cab we saw a beautiful group of rubber trees. We went over to take a look at it only to discover that it was one monstrous tree. I later learned that this famous tree, nicknamed Gran Gomero, has branches that span over 150 feet. Huge!

We also enjoyed strolling  through the Recoleta cemetery, which is big enough to get lost in, and were amazed at the size of the mausoleums, each one bigger than the next. Many were falling apart from years of neglect.

LettersLightening StormLa Casa RosadaJim in Cafe

It seems that every block of Buenos Aires has five cafes. We also appreciated that. We spent hours sipping coffees, trying new apperitivos, and people watching, as we tried to decipher what Buenos Aires is really about. We only spent three nights there, not enough to figure it out, but we were definitely enchanted, both by the busy streets and the mysterious courtyards within them.

Perhaps one day we’ll return to discover a little bit more about what Buenos Aires really is.