Owens Valley Field Trip


Upon my arrival to Owens Valley, my first thought was on how vast this region was. It was difficult to imagine the scale of the lake when looking at it through pictures on a computer screen. We set up camp at De La Cour Ranch for the week. The site sat at the base of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains high enough to see the entire lake bed. From the camp site, however, we could only really see half of it as it was nestled deeper into the mountain. Later, when we hiked up higher on the closed road, we were able to see more of the lake. The first day that we arrived, we thought it was going to rain on us, but we set up our tents anyways. My classmates and I were feeling adventurous. We were prepared with tarps to cover our tents and water resistant sprays. It turned out that we didn’t really need it after all. The rain never really came. Throughout the week we had scheduled meetings with the native Paiute tribe elders and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The meeting with the Paiute tribe elders gave us a personal glimpse into the histories of these people and their current struggle. Meeting with the DWP allowed us to actually step foot onto the lake bed. Seeing it from within completely changed the way I viewed the scale of the place. This site is humongous. It was interesting to see these points of view of the lake, but, having stayed at De La Cour Ranch, we also had input from a local rancher named Julie. She broke down the current situation for us in a speech she gave prior to teaching us more about her ranch. Although there is always more to learn about the valley, it was at that point that my understanding of the lake seemed to be complete.


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