This week I drove through Lee Vining, the tiny town above Mono Lake, and experienced “poconip” for the first time. A Paiute word, poconip is the name for a dense fog that forms when cold air from the mountains meets the humid air above the lake.

It was a sunny day, before 9AM, but the light was swallowed up and we slowed to a crawl.

The upside is the rime frost, a delicate covering of frozen fog that adorns all the trees, bushes, power lines, seemingly anything thin and delicate enough to freeze and catch the moist air.

At the north side of the lake, we started to climb, and visibility got better, though intermittently.

Finally, we climbed back into the sunlight, just like climbing above the clouds in a jet.

Looking back, we could see none of the lake water, just a featureless bank of white.