Friday, April 18, 2014

High Sierras, bye, Sierras

The eastern face of the high Sierras is topped by Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states.  Lesser peaks to the east keep the campground in shadow while the sun paints the higher peaks of Whitney and its surrounding massif.

Even at midday, the views of Mount Whitney from the Lone Pine Trail are breathtaking (or maybe that was a combination of steep slope and altitude?).

I was very fortunate to have a storm engulf Mount Whitney in the afternoon sun, while I was at a point where I could see and try to capture the magic of that moment.
Yeah, that's a keeper…

So now I am in the Cascades, approaching home, relaxing just south of Mount Shasta.  I don't expect to see the Sierras for another year.

I'm Goin' To Alabama...

…Hills, that is.  No banjo on my knee.

The Alabama Hills are a rocky formation in the high desert at the foot of Mount Whitney.  This is where I headed from the Sequoias.  They are about 30 miles to the west, and a 5 hour drive away.  The Alabama Hills have been used in a lot of movies.  Remember that opening shot of the Lone Ranger - black and white TV, "HiYo Silver, Awayyyy,"?  That was here.  Kirk and Picard dealing with the guy trying to redirect the nexus was here, as were some Iron Man scenes, lots of John Wayne stuff, Gunga Din, and so on.

The rocks are formed by weathering of a mix of hard and soft granites.

The result yields some interesting shapes.

One very well-known, oft-photographed spot is the Mobius Arch.

The desert is not just rock, however.  There are flowers here, especially in the spring.

But… time to move on.

A Sierras visit

Once in a while, I get to visit with folks from before I began full time RV living.  My most recent such was set in the Sierras, on the west side, at Sequoia National Park.

Home of the largest living things on this planet, the scale of a sequoia is hard to grasp.  Bree and David just look up, toward the top more than 300 feet above them.

We did some hiking,
but mostly just visited.

After they headed home, I did some more hiking.  These peaks rise above the Kaweah valley, across from Moro Rock.
A visit from loved ones is a joy, but saying goodbye is soo hard…