March 4th, 2018. Just after the storm passed over the Sierra Nevada mountains Mike Uriell and I departed San Diego at 1 am in the rain to get to the Alabama Hills in Owens Valley and arrive for the sunrise and moonset over Mount Whitney. We arrived 20 minutes before sunrise and the sky was clear. The storm had moved on leaving the temperature at 24 degrees Fahrenheit or -4.4444 Celsius. The slight wind made it feel even colder. We were ready for the cold climate, but my hands froze quickly while setting up my tripod and camera system. I used a 400mm lens and a 70-200 with two camera bodies on two tripods. Within 10 minutes my hands were frozen.
I could not feel the shutter release. The car motor was on with the heater on full blast. I jumped inside and tried to warm up my stinging cold finders before climbing out again to take a few more images.
It is always a beautiful view with the early dawn light glowing on the huge mountain. When the sun finally rose and illuminated the snow and steep wall of the mountain with a glowing bright orange cast. I had to wait another 20 minutes for the moon to get lower and into the view of the long lenses. We took our images carefully. It is an exhilarating experience that I never seem to tire of the dynamics of sunrise in the Alabama Hills in Owens Valley.
Mount Whitney is not only the highest point in California but also the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet.
It is the highest California mountain summit. Wikipedia
Lone Pine Peak. This massive peak dominates the skyline west of Lone Pine. It appears larger and taller than Mts. Whitney, Russell and Langley, partly due to its bulk, and partly due to its location several miles east of the other, much higher peaks. Though its summit does not quite reach 13,000 feet, it is nevertheless a very impressive mountain. https://www.summitpost.org
By 9 am we departed north to Bishop taking photographic liberties as we drove. Mike had never been to the petroglyph fields along the Fish Slough river north of Bishop. The whole area is heavily decorated with Indian carvings left between 1000 and 8000 years ago, possibly etched by the ancestors of the native Paiute and Shoshone tribes. You can find many prehistoric rock art sites in the Fish Slough ACEC. The curvilinear style is characterized by its emphasis on curved lines and forms, such as circular motifs (circles, concentric circles, connected circles, dots, “starbursts,” etc.), wavy lines, and meanders. Their meaning has many interpretations, often associated with shamanic or hunting magic. There are three main areas for you to visit these carvings.
CHALFANT PETROGLYPHS Petroglyphs on Hwy.6?About 17 miles north of Bishop.?LATITUDE: N 37°34.838?LONGITUDE: W 118°23.796
FISH SLOUGH PETROGLYPHS Petroglyphs on Fish Slough Road / Road#3V01?Small area with limited petroglyphs.?LATITUDE: N 37°30.796?LONGITUDE: W 118°24.897?(About 11 miles north of Bishop, CA)
RED CANYON PETROGLYPHS Petroglyphs at the junction of Chidago Canyon?Road and Fish Slough Road.?LATITUDE: N 37°39.058?LONGITUDE: W 118°26.13.
I first began exploring these areas in 1963. I have seen the destruction in some areas where individuals have cut away the rock to steal the inscriptions. Bullet holes and morons carving their initial or name on the same rock is becoming more common.
With the advent of a lot of social media, the areas are becoming more populated with visitors which is leading to more destruction of these historic sites.
Fish Slough Petroglyphs DIRECTIONS
From Bishop, take U.S. Highway 6 north for 1.4 miles. Turn left on Five Bridges Road and proceed 2.4 miles to Fish Slough Road. Turn right onto Fish Slough road and continue for 6.1 miles until you reach the Fish Slough Petroglyphs on the left side of the road. The Volcanic Tableland offers exceptional bouldering opportunities, because of its unique geologic features formed by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of the Long Valley Caldera 750,000 years ago, which left a highly dissected landscape of Bishop Tuff. https://www.blm.gov/visit/fish-slough-petroglyphs
The White Mountains are named from the light-colored appearance of the higher peaks, primarily Montgomery Peak. Montgomery Peak was formerly named White Mountain Peak. That name was transferred to a peak sixteen miles farther south in 1917.www.schweich.com
When we left the Fish Slough we drove south to the Laws Train Museum just a few minutes to the north of Bishop on Hwy 6. A good place to have your picnic lunch, relax and enjoy the railroad history. The train used to carry ore and passengers from Carson City Nevada to Olancha and Keeler to the south of Lone Pine.
Laws Train Museum in Bishop, CA.
There are authentic buildings, relocated here from their original sites throughout the Owens Valley, are filled with objects of antiquity. Visitors can see the actual tools used by dentists, physicians, newspaper publishers, gold miners, and blacksmiths, all displayed in historic buildings throughout the museum grounds.
Travel back in time and experience the daily life of early homemakers with period furnishings displayed in a restored 1900 Ranch House, as well as the Railroad Agents House.
Nearly 50 structures on eleven acres surround you with objects of pioneer life, including the original Slim Princess engine No. 9.
The Laws Railroad Depot and the Slim Princess have changed little since the turn-of-the-century.Engine No. 9, with its train of boxcars and caboose, are surrounded by support structures including the oil & water tanks, original turntable, and Agents house Train service began in 1883, and the Slim Princess steamed into Laws Depot for the last time 1960.The Southern Pacific Railroad station, rail yard, land, depot and other buildings, were donated to Inyo County and the City of Bishop by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1960.
The Bishop Museum and Historical Society were formed in 1964 to preserve what was left of the Laws Railroad Depot and Slim Princess.
We retired that night in Lone Pine at a motel where the desk clerk with an IQ less than his age attempted to register us for the motel. It did bother us, we were very tired and slept well.
We were up before sunrise and on our way home via a quick visit through Death Valley.
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, it occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts in the United States. The park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area It is the hottest, driest and lowest of the national parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep, coyote, and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Valley_National_Park
It has been awhile since Mike and I traveled out to take photographs and exercise our inspirational needs. This trip was well worth a 943-mile journey.
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