"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, November 3, 2014

Easter Sierras Part Six: Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills

Finally we have internet service that will support putting together a blog post, despite the transition from Millenicom to Verizon pending.  Many readers are probably familiar with the demise of Millenicom's internet service, and have scrambled to find a replacement. We decided to go with Verizon, and I'm sure it will be fine once we've got it up and going. I am not blaming either service for the challenges we've been experiencing. I think it's just a fact of rural travel. 

Our blog left off a couple of weeks ago at Bristlecone Pines Ancient Forest while we were parked in Bishop, CA. Our next stop was Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine, CA, another small town, known as the gateway to Death Valley and Mt. Whitney. It has the distinction of being located right between the lowest and the highest elevations in the United States.  Just outside and west of town are the Alabama Hills, and just beyond them is Mt. Whitney, both will be featured in this post.

The Alabama Hills is comprised of acres and acres of granite eroded into smoothly rounded piles of boulders, some as big as barns.  Our outing into the Hills started at the Mobius Arch, the most often photographed feature of the Hills. The parking lot and trail weren't too hard to find. 

We were there under the midday sun, so it wasn't the best photographically, but we messed around it long enough to get an interesting shot or two.  Below Rick tries to find that perfect shot with Mt. Whitney framed within the arch... 

…while I tried another approach. A photographic icon can sometimes be intimidating, or sometimes disappointing.  It's always a challenge to get a shot that just satisfies you.

The contrasting juxtaposition of the Alabama Hills and the pale grey mountains behind was always interesting as the light changed from hour to hour.  They are made of the same exact granite, but the Hills remained underground for centuries, mechanically and chemically eroding differently, so that when they were finally exposed they were of a completely different color and texture.  

That's Lone Pine Peak behind the Hills below. 

And here Lone Pine Peak is on the left, with Mt. Whitney tucked back on the right, looking diminutive, but actually being 1500' higher.

An early morning drive among the Hills on another day led to this uninhabited campsite. There are lots of places in the Hills where people boondocks or dry camp.

Another day we drove up the Whitney Portal road, which leads to a parking lot, hikers campground trailhead at the closest access point to Mt. Whitney. It's another 22 miles to the summit (below).  We saw plenty of folks returning from or getting ready for the hike up. It's said to be a difficult hike, but not a technical one. (We wouldn't know, and it's sure hard to imagine.)

Here's the view back down into the valley, The Alabama Hills, Lone Pine and the Inyo Mountains beyond. 

Lone Pine pretty much concludes our exploration of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but our adventure on 395 is not quite over....


  1. I can hardly wait to make this journey!! I love rocks, in case you hadn't picked up on that yet:) I, also, am always in search of arches. What a very cool photos!

    I guess we won't be adding the hike to the top of Mt. Whitney to our plans:) We don't backpack...haha!

    1. Oh, you'll love it for sure. The area is so full of hikes and interesting places to go and see. And lots of rocks.

  2. Wonderful shots! I sure do like the way the sun plays around on those mountains! Perhaps next time we come through we'll spend a couple of nights among those boulders, though I really liked my creekside oasis!

    Looking forward to meeting you at Santee Lakes. That's my favorite park in San Diego thanks to the excellent walking along the lakes and back in the hills.

  3. Finding water and shade in that area is a real treasure. But beautiful places are all around.

    Yes, see you in Santee amongst the ducks.


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