Just for the record, Lee Vining is a little town in the high desert located along highway 395 where highway 120 descends down from Tioga Pass on the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park. It's also not far from Mono Lake.
- Remember what you learned about diminished engine performance at high density altitude airports. Lee Vining is at an elevation of 6,800 feet, so even on a moderate Spring day you're going to wonder where the horsepower has gone. Lean the mixture as needed.
- There is always a crosswind. I don't know whose bright idea it was to build a basically north/south runway right next to a big east/west mountain pass where there's almost always a westerly wind. But what's done is done.
- The runway is about 50 feet wide, so keep it on the centerline. There's not a lot of room for mistakes.
- When landing on runway 34, expect to hit some bumps and good sink on right base to final. Looking at the surrounding terrain, I suspect it is often present.
- When descending to land, you may circle the airport to determine which way the runway slopes. In doing so you'll probably convince yourself that it seems to slope both ways. Actually runway 34 is slightly downhill. About 2/3rds of the way to the north end the slope increases noticeably.
- The good news is that you have a slightly downhill takeoff on 34. Since your plane won't climb worth a damn anyway, this is helpful.
- The airport has a roughly 3 foot high barbed wire fence around it. Should you decide to attempt to walk down to the lake, you'll need to go over or through the fence. It's not that hard, actually. You can find places where both are possible if you look around a bit.
- The lake, however, is much farther from the airport than it seems.
- And the brush gets a lot thicker the closer you get to the shoreline.
- In the other direction, it's an easy walk into town along highway 395. There's ample shoulder room on both sides of the road (since it gets snow in the winter months).
- In town you'll find several places to eat as well as a visitor's center and some funky little shops.
The rest of the pictures are in my Mono Lake photoset on Flickr.
Posted by jzawodn at April 14, 2007 10:12 AM