For what it’s worth, Josh and I went up Highway 395 to see what the Eastern Sierras has to hold. I’ve never been up there.
We decided to visit Bodie, the old silver-mining ghost town in the high desert of eastern California. It was amazing – not so much that it was a ghost town, but that at one point, it wasn’t a ghost town. The road in is about 13 miles long, the first 10 of which have been recently blacktopped, but the last 3 of which are gravel and washboard. We were there under a noonday sun.
Historically, about 5% of the original buildings remain, many of which had been destroyed by a fire sometime ago (1920s??). While it is rather desolate and barren, visiting and learning a bit of its history, you are amazed to see the civilization of an age past come to life.
Click on the images below for the slideshow!
When we visited Bodie, it was in the middle of the day; it was hot; there was no shade; we were thirsty. The high desert is a dry, and to many, a barren place. I wouldn’t say that – instead, I would say it is a spare land with a spare beauty. It isn’t lush and verdant, but it is aromatic and clean – the light is clean, the air is clean, and it shimmers and dances with subtleties. You just have to look.
We spent a day in Bodie, California, a silver-mining ghost town in the middle of the high desert in northern California off Hwy. 395. It’s a photographer’s paradise, a state park, and a place with a very interesting history. The dry air keeps it preserved – as preserved as it can be – and the drive out is lonely.
So here we are, on top of Mammoth Mountain in the Eastern Sierras. Altitude is about 11,000 feet. And no, we did not climb that high – we are lowland dwellers at 800 feet, and not at all climatized to such height! – we took the gondola. Getting short of breath was a really great excuse to look around and take in the scenery, from beautiful flowers and colorful rocks, to marveling at the mountain ranges beyond mountain ranges beyond mountain ranges. You can see them on the horizon! Whew!
This is a telescopic shot from the shore of Parker Lake in the Eastern Sierra. Taken in mid-August, the ice and snow is still visible from the winter before. We were up around 9000 feet (guestimate), but the snow field and waterfall are certainly far higher than that.
We hiked from the high desert with its low-growing plants into the alpine environment of the eastern Sierra Nevadas in California. Scrub gave way to aspens and pine, and soon we came upon the goal of this hike: a pristine, crystalline lake. If you look closely to the mountain in the “V” you will see the mountain stream and waterfalls which feed into Parker Lake. A two-mile hike at a high altitude (9000 ft?) was worth it all! Click to enlarge!
These are beautiful flowers I found while out wandering . . .looking at the original mines in Mammoth Lakes, California . . . and looking for my husband who had wandered off. Luckily I found him, as this is not country to get lost in!
We spent the last week up in the area of Mammoth Lakes, located on the eastern slope of the Sierras, up Highway 395. Can you believe I have never been up that road?!?
We hiked and ate and took pictures and saw the sites. The weather was superb. We had to adjust from living at 800 feet above sea level to going up to 8000 feet and higher – shortness of breath (SOB!), dry eyes and nose, and so on. We got comfortable at 8000, but moving up, like in walking uphill, became a challenge at times, so we would rest and then continue. This gave for a lot of wonderful opportunities to look around, take in a breath of sage and pine, and snap away.
This view of Mono Lake is from the Parker Lake Trail, and is created from a montage of about 8 images. Click on the image for a bigger version.