Category Archives: Landscape

11-05-20 – 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.

10-10-20 – Bishop Creek Canyon South Lake


One of the best places I know to find autumn color, and a respite from the desert any time of year. Cooler temperatures, soothing green, the sound of running water, Bishop Creek is a scenic balm for city-weary travelers.

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Bishop Creek is a 10.1-mile-long (16.3 km) stream in Inyo County, California. It is the largest tributary of the Owens River. It has five hydroelectric plants owned by Southern California Edison, Bishop Creek #2ā€“6. Bishop Creek #1 was never completed. Parts of the creek run through pipelines, or penstocks, to increase output at the power plants.

Bishop Creek has three forks, North, Middle and South. All have their headwaters in the eastern Sierra Nevada, near the border with Fresno County. The forks all flow into lakes while still at high elevations. The North Fork flows into North Lake, the Middle Fork flows into Lake Sabrina. The North and Middle forks combine above and flow through the community of Aspendell and below it the combined creeks are dammed at Intake Two, a reservoir. The South Fork flows into South Lake and continues through the community of South Fork (aka Habegger’s) and then joins the Middle Fork below the Intake Two reservoir. Bishop Creek then begins its steep descent to the Owens Valley. The creek runs roughly North then Northeast and then continues East, flowing past the city of Bishop before its confluence with the Owens River.

The creek was named after Owens Valley settler Samuel Addison Bishop.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop_Creek_(Inyo_County)

10-02-20 – 10-04-20 – Autumn Roadtrip in Eastern Sierra


I took a road trip through the Eastern Sierra in search of autumn colors after a long, hot summer of isolation. While I encountered a lot of smoke from the devastating wildfires that plagued California this summer, I also found beauty. This trip took in Alabama Hills, Lake Tahoe, Virginia Lake, June Lake Loop, Lake Crowley, and Bishop Creek Canyon, as well as numerous dirt trails.

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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

06-07-20 – Alabama Hills National Scenic Area

The Alabama Hills are a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine in Inyo County, California.

Though geographically separate from the Sierra Nevada, they are part of the same geological formation. The rounded contours of the Alabamas contrast with the sharp ridges of the Sierra Nevada to the west. Though this might suggest that they formed from a different orogeny, the Alabamas are the same age as the Sierra Nevada. The difference in wear can be accounted for by different patterns of erosion.

Dozens of natural arches are among the main attractions at the Alabama Hills. They can be accessed by short hikes from the Whitney Portal Road, the Movie Flat Road and the Horseshoe Meadows Road. Among the notable features of the area are: Mobius Arch, Lathe Arch, the Eye of Alabama and Whitney Portal Arch.

The Alabama Hills were named for the CSS Alabama, a Confederate warship deployed during the American Civil War. When news of the ship’s exploits reached prospectors in California sympathetic to the Confederates, they named many mining claims after the ship, and the name came to be applied to the entire range. When the Alabama was finally sunk off the coast of Normandy by the USS Kearsarge in 1864, prospectors sympathetic to the North named a mining district, a mountain pass, a mountain peak, and a town after the Kearsarge.

The Alabama Hills are a popular filming location for television and movie productions, especially Westerns set in an archetypical “rugged” environment. Since the early 1920s, 150 movies and about a dozen television shows have been filmed here, including Tom Mix films, Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger and Bonanza. Meanwhile, Classics such as Gunga Din, The Walking Hills, Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott “Ranown” westerns, part of How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd. In the late 1940s and early 50s the area was also a popular location for the films of B-western actor Tim Holt.

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

03-07-20 – Castle Mountains National Monument


Castle Mountains National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in the eastern Mojave Desert and northeastern San Bernardino County, in the state of California. The park protects 20,920 acres, located between the interstates Iāˆ’15 and Iāˆ’40, and northwest of the Colorado River.

The national monument protects a section of the Castle Mountains, a range located in San Bernardino County and Clark County, Nevada. The range lies south and east of the New York Mountains, southwest of Searchlight and west of Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada. The range lies at the northeastern end of Lanfair Valley and reaches 5,543 feet (1,690 m) in elevation at the summit of Hart Peak and 5580 ft at Linder Peak. The mountains lie in a southwest-northeasterly direction. The Piute Range lies to the southeast. Castle Mountains National Monument is surrounded on three sides by the NPS Mojave National Preserve.

It surrounds the Castle Mountain Mine Area, an open pit gold mine in the southern Castle Mountains owned by Canadian NewCastle Gold Ltd., who can excavate nearly 10 million tons of ore through 2025, though due to low gold prices mining has been suspended since 2001. The national monument proclamation states that after any such mining and reclamation are completed, or after 10 years if no mining occurs, the Federal land in the 8,340 acre Castle Mountain Mine Area is to be transferred to the National Park Service.

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

02-17-20 – Wander Sierra


A trip to nowhere in particular, just enjoying being outside and seeing the sights. This trip skirted around Lake Isabella and up into the Sequoia National Forest

12-23-19 – Effigy Mounds National Monument


Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans. Numerous effigy mounds are shaped like animals, including bears and birds. These were built mostly in the first millennium, by peoples of the Woodland Culture. In 2017, they were featured in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

The monument is located primarily in Allamakee County, Iowa, with a small part in Clayton County, Iowa, in the midwestern United States. The park’s visitor center is located in Harpers Ferry, Iowa, just north of Marquette.

Lidar-derived image of Marching Bears Mound Group, Effigy Mounds National Monument.
Prehistoric earthworks by mound builder cultures are common in the Midwest. However, mounds in the shape of mammals, birds, or reptiles, known as effigies, apparently were constructed primarily by peoples in what is now known as southern Wisconsin, northeast Iowa, and small parts of Minnesota and Illinois. Exceptions are the Great Serpent Mound in south-eastern Ohio, and Mound A at Poverty Point, Louisiana, built in the shape of a large soaring bird.

Effigy Mounds National Monument takes in the western edge of the effigy region. The North Unit (67 mounds) and South Unit (29 mounds) are located where the counties meet along the Mississippi River. They are contiguous and easily accessible. The Sny Magill Unit (112 mounds) is approximately 11 miles (18 km) south of the other units, and offers no visitor facilities. Other mounds are located on remote parts of the Monument property. The monument contains 2,526 acres (10.22 km2) with 206 mounds, of which 31 are effigies. The largest, Great Bear Mound, measures 42 meters from head to tail and rises over a meter above the original ground level.

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

12-22-19 – Homestead National Monument


Homestead National Monument of America, a unit of the National Park System, commemorates passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed any qualified person to claim up to 160 acres (0.65 km2) of federally owned land in exchange for five years of residence and the cultivation and improvement of the property. The Act eventually transferred 270,000,000 acres (1,100,000 km2) from public to private ownership.

The national monument is five miles west of Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska on a site that includes some of the first acres successfully claimed under the Homestead Act. The national monument was first included in the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966 (ID 66000115).

The Homestead Heritage Center, dedicated in 2007, contains exhibits that treat the effect of the Homestead Act on immigration, agriculture, native tribes, the tallgrass prairie ecosystem, and federal land policy. The roof line of the center resembles a “single bottom plow moving through the sod,” and the parking lot measures exactly 1-acre (4,000 m2). A separate Education Center features science and social science presentations that can be shared with classrooms anywhere in the United States through distance-learning.

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

12-21-19 – Road Trip (CA-OH)


Random roadside scenes on a holiday road trip to spend time with family, visiting national parks and monuments along the way!

12-01-19 – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (shortened to Glen Canyon NRA or GCNRA) is a recreation and conservation unit of the United States National Park Service that encompasses the area around Lake Powell and lower Cataract Canyon in Utah and Arizona, covering 1,254,429 acres (5,076.49 km2) of mostly rugged high desert terrain. The recreation area is named for Glen Canyon, which was flooded by the Glen Canyon Dam, completed in 1966, and is now mostly submerged beneath the waters of Lake Powell.

Glen Canyon NRA borders Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park on the north, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on the west, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and the northeasternmost reaches of Grand Canyon National Park on the southwest, and the Navajo Nation on the southeast. The southwestern end of Glen Canyon NRA in Arizona can be accessed via U.S. Route 89 and State Route 98. State Route 95 and State Route 276 lead to the northeastern end of the recreation area in Utah.

Glen Canyon NRA was established in 1972 “to provide for public use and enjoyment and to preserve the area’s scientific, historic, and scenic features.” The stated purpose of Glen Canyon NRA is for recreation as well as preservation (whereas a national park may carry more emphasis on natural preservation). As such, the area has been developed for access to Lake Powell via five marinas, four public campgrounds, two small airports, and numerous houseboat rental concessions.

The geology of the area is dominated by the Glen Canyon Group, consisting of the Navajo Sandstone, Kayenta Formation, and Wingate Sandstone. The entire stratigraphic section includes rocks dating from the Cretaceous to Pennsylvanian periods.

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