I recently started heading up content and community at a new travel and local-finds company called Spot, based in San Francisco. I’ve traveled a fair deal in the past, but to help build out content for our app and blog, I’ve been trying to take as many weekend trips as possible—everywhere from Big Sur to Tomales Bay, from Ojai to Gold Country. And then I found Mono Lake.

In the eastern Sierras, this immense, shallow saline lake gleams the same startling milky-blue normally reserved for glacial lakes. It’s ancient—more than a million years old—and looks like Mars, or at least what I imagine Mars to look like. The southwest coast, crusted white with salt, is dotted with “tufas,” calcium-carbonate spires and towers that catch light and toss it back on the water a thousand different ways depending on the time of day. Go for sunrise, stay for sunset.

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