11-07-21 – Kings Canyon National Park


Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was greatly expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940. The park’s namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world’s largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and both parks are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The majority of the 461,901-acre (186,925 ha) park, drained by the Middle and South Forks of the Kings River and many smaller streams, is designated wilderness. Tourist facilities are concentrated in two areas: Grant Grove, home to General Grant (the second largest tree in the world, measured by trunk volume) and Cedar Grove, located in the heart of Kings Canyon. Overnight hiking is required to access most of the park’s backcountry, or high country, which for much of the year is covered in deep snow. The combined Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail, a backpacking route, traverses the entire length of the park from north to south.

General Grant National Park was initially created to protect a small area of giant sequoias from logging. Although John Muir’s visits brought public attention to the huge wilderness area to the east, it took more than fifty years for the rest of Kings Canyon to be designated a national park. Environmental groups, park visitors and many local politicians wanted to see the area preserved; however, development interests wanted to build hydroelectric dams in the canyon. Even after President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the park in 1940, the fight continued until 1965, when the Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley dam sites were finally annexed into the park.

11-02-21-Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park is an American national park in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres (1,169 sq mi; 3,029 km2) and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

On average, about four million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing five million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln’s signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System.

10-27-21 – 395 Autumn Road Trip


I got the new Pixel 6 Pro, and took an Eastern Sierra 395 Road Trip to try out the camera. I stopped at Red Rock Canyon State Park and went looking for autumn color near Bishop, with a quick stop at Alabama Hills to try out the night mode.

———-

The Eastern Sierra is a region in California comprising the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, which includes Mono and Inyo Counties. The main thoroughfare is U.S. Route 395, which passes through Bridgeport, Lee Vining, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine, and Olancha, with Bishop being the largest city in the area. It is sparsely populated but well known for its scenery; major points of interest include Mono Lake, Bodie, Mammoth Lakes, Manzanar, and parts of Yosemite National Park and Death Valley National Park.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Sierra

10-03-21 – Sierra Autumn Roadtrip


I took a road trip through the Eastern Sierra in search of autumn colors after another long, hot summer of isolation. This short trip took in Virginia Lake, June Lake Loop, and the Obsidian Dome area.

———-

The Eastern Sierra is a region in California comprising the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, which includes Mono and Inyo Counties. The main thoroughfare is U.S. Route 395, which passes through Bridgeport, Lee Vining, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine, and Olancha, with Bishop being the largest city in the area. It is sparsely populated but well known for its scenery; major points of interest include Mono Lake, Bodie, Mammoth Lakes, Manzanar, and parts of Yosemite National Park and Death Valley National Park.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Sierra

08-29-21 – Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a California State Park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, a Spanish word for sheep. With 585,930 acres (237,120 ha) that includes one-fifth of San Diego County, it is the largest state park in California.

The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, enveloping two communities: Borrego Springs, which is home to the park’s headquarters, and Shelter Valley.

The park is an anchor in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve, and adjacent to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

The great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north which are in the wilderness area, without paved roads and with the only year-round creeks.

The park has 500 mi (800 km) of dirt roads, 12 designated wilderness areas, and 110 mi (180 km) of hiking trails. Park information and maps are available in the visitor center. The park has Wi-Fi access.

The park is around a two-hour drive northeast from San Diego, southeast from Riverside or Irvine, and south from Palm Springs. Access on the east-Coachella Valley side is via County Route S22 and State Route 78. Access on the west-Pacific Ocean side is via California County Routes S79. S67 provides access through the high and forested Laguna Mountains, such as in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. These highways climb from the coast to 2,400 ft (730 m) above sea level, then descend 2,000 ft (610 m) down into the Borrego Valley in the center of the park.

A popular site to hike to near the visitor center is Hellhole Palms, a grove of California fan palms in Hellhole Canyon near Maidenhair Falls.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert_State_Park

05-15-21 – Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument


Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument (sometimes referred to as Parashant National Monument) is located on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona. The monument was established by Presidential Proclamation 7265 on January 11, 2000.

The national monument is a very remote and undeveloped place jointly managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are no paved roads into the monument and no visitor services. The 1,048,325-acre (424,242 ha) monument is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The BLM portion of the monument consists of 808,747 acres (327,288 ha). The NPS portion contains 208,453 acres (84,358 ha) of lands that were previously part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are also about 23,205 acres (9,391 ha) of Arizona State Land Department lands and 7,920 acres (3,210 ha) of private lands within the monument boundaries. Grand Canyon–Parashant is not considered a separate unit of the NPS because its NPS area is counted in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Elevation ranges from 1,230 feet (370 m) above sea level near Grand Wash Bay at Lake Mead, to 8,029 feet (2,447 m) at Mount Trumbull. The Interagency Information Center is located in the BLM Office in St. George, Utah.

The name Parashant is derived from the Paiute word Pawteh ‘ee oasoasant, meaning “tanned elk hide,” or “softening of the elk hide.”

There are a number of ruins of former Mormon settlements in the area, such as the Oak Grove Dairy.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon-Parashant_National_Monument

05-14-21 – Jurassic National Monument


Jurassic National Monument, at the site of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, well known for containing the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found, is a paleontological site located near Cleveland, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell, a part of the geological layers known as the Morrison Formation.

Well over 15,000 bones have been excavated from this Jurassic excavation site and there are many thousands more awaiting excavation and study. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in October 1965. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law March 12, 2019, named it as a national monument.

All of these bones, belonging to different species, are found disarticulated and indistinctly mixed together. It has been hypothesised that this strong concentration of mixed fossilised bones is due to a “predator trap”, but any kind of definitive scientific consensus hasn’t been reached yet and debates still continue to the present day.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_National_Monument

05-13-21 – Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in the states of Wyoming and Utah. The recreation centerpiece of the area is the 91 miles (146 km) long Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The area was given the name “Flaming Gorge” by John Wesley Powell during his 1869 expedition down the Green River, due to the spectacular, gorgeous red sandstone cliffs that surround this part of the river.

The Flaming Gorge reservoir was created by the 1964 construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam across the Green River.

Flaming Gorge Dam is used to generate hydroelectric power. Three turbines and generators at the base of the dam have the capacity to produce 50,650 kilowatts of electrical power each.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation area is administered by the Ashley National Forest. Activities in the recreation area include camping, biking, rock climbing, paddling, hiking, boating and fishing on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and rafting on the portion of the Green River downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam.

The Sheep Creek Geologic Loop is a 10-mile section of road that takes you through the center of the Uinta Crest Fault. Along its course, you will not only see exposed layers of the earth raised in dramatic angles and positions, but will also have the opportunity to pull out at overlooks with your binoculars and scan for wildlife, including those Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

Red Canyon Overlook is a viewpoint at Colorado National Monument that looks directly down Red Canyon from its head to Grand Junction in the Grand Valley to the northeast. The overlook, fenced by a stone wall, is right next to a small parking area on the north side of Rim Rock Drive.

05-13-21 – Fantasy Canyon


Fantasy Canyon is a Bureau of Land Management-managed area located about 27 miles (43 km) south of Vernal, in Uintah County, Utah. Even though the area is only about 10 acres (40,000 m2) in size, it contains some of the most unusual geologic features in the world. The site was officially documented by early explorer and paleontologist Earl Douglass, who recorded the area by other names such as “The Devil’s Playground” and “Hades Pit.” He published photographs of this area in a 1909 publication called “The Columbian Magazine.”

The rocks of Fantasy Canyon, quartzose sandstones, were deposited during the Eocene Epoch. They date from around 38 to 50 million years ago. During the geologic period, the Uinta Basin was occupied by a large lake called Lake Uinta. The lake extended 120 miles (190 km) west to Heber City, 30 miles (48 km) east to Rangely, Colorado, south to the Book Cliff Divide, north to the Uinta Mountains, and was about a half mile deep.

Fantasy Canyon is along the east shore of what was once Lake Uinta, where the sediments eroded from the surrounding high lands. Sediments were deposited and the once loose sands, silts, and clays were forged into sandstone and shale. Because of different rates of weathering, the more durable sandstone remained while the more easily weathered siltstone and shale washed away, yielding this spectacular scenery. Today’s geologic formations of Fantasy Canyon will eventually give way to weather and then topple and erode into sand, but new formations will appear as the topsoil washes away. Because the delicate formations are so fragile the area is referred to as “Nature’s China Shop.”

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Canyon

05-12-21 – Goblin Valley State Park


Goblin Valley State Park is a state park of Utah, in the United States. The park features thousands of hoodoos, referred to locally as goblins, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as tall as several yards (meters). The distinct shapes of these rocks result from an erosion-resistant layer of rock atop relatively softer sandstone. Goblin Valley State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, also in Utah about 190 miles (310 km) to the southwest, contain some of the largest occurrences of hoodoos in the world.

The unusual stone shapes in Goblin Valley result from the weathering of Entrada sandstone. The Entrada consists of debris eroded from former highlands and redeposited on a former tidal flat of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone, and shale. The rocks show evidence of being near the margins of an ancient sea with the ebb and flow of tides, tidal channels that directed currents back to the sea and coastal sand dunes.

Joint or fracture patterns within the Entrada sandstone beds created initial zones of weakness. The unweathered joints intersected to form sharp edges and corners with greater surface-area-to-volume ratios than the faces. As a result, the edges and corners weathered more quickly, producing the spherical-shaped ‘goblins’.

The Entrada sandstone from which the hoodoos developed was deposited in the Jurassic period around 170 million years ago.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goblin_Valley_State_Park