It was 9 am and the temperature was in the mid-90’s when we pulled off the highway at the start of the Swansea-Cerro Gordo Trail. The broad expanse of the Owens Lake lay to the south and the rugged slopes of the Inyo Mountains rose to the north.
Before the water wars of the early 1900’s, Owens Lake and the surrounding valley supported a thriving agriculture and mining population. As the Los Angles area grew, water was diverted from the eastern Sierra Nevada watershed and the Owens Valley to satisfy the thirsty population of the Los Angles Basin. Soon, the Owens Lake was reduced to a dry, dusty flatland. By the late 1990’s, a settlement was reached that reduced the diversion of water from the eastern Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley. With water flows returned to the Owens River, pools of water were beginning to collect in the once dry lake. The once dry lake was now a patch-work of various colors in the morning sun.