A weekend in the eastern Sierras–Alabama Hills, Mt. Whitney, Devil’s Postpile, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Mono Lake

We spent the weekend exploring different stretches of CA 395 along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada.  We camped the first night just outside of Lone Pine, and near the foot of Mt. Whitney.  Saturday morning we were off to the Mobius Arch (and Lathe Arch) at the Alabama Hills at sunrise, then a quick trip to the trailhead at Mt. Whitney (at approx. 8,000 feet elevation).  From there we drove up to Mammoth Mountain and took the shuttle over to Devil’s Postpile National Monument for a quick hike (and pictures), and then back down again to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains.  It was too late in the day to make it all the way to the Patriarch Grove, so that’s on the list for our next trip.  This morning we were up before dawn to make it to Mono Lake and its unearthly tufa towers in time for some sunrise pics.

Loved where we camped–we’ll definitely be back.

camp1

Mt. Whitney as seen from our campsite (you can just see the edge of our tent in the bottom left corner).

camp2

Alpenglow on Mt. Whitney.

alpenglow on Mr. Whitney

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills, shortly after sunrise (in the first pic you can see Mt. Whitney through the arch).

Whitney through Mobius Arch

Mobius Arch 1

Mobius Arch 2

Mobius Arch 3

Mobius Arch 4

The almost-hidden Lathe Arch

Lathe Arch 1

Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14, 497 feet.

Mt. Whitney 3

Mt. Whitney 2

Devil’s Postpile National Monument.  The postpile is an unusual occurrence of columnar basalt formed after a volcanic eruption.

Postpile 1

Postpile 2

Postpile 3

Ancient Bristlecone Pines are the oldest single living organisms on the planet, some estimated at almost 5,000 years old.  Even after a tree (finally) dies, its dense, gnarled wood lasts for millennia.

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone deadwood

Looking across to the eastern Sierras from the top of the White Mountains.

On White Mtns looking at Eastern Sierras2

Several pics taken at sunrise at Mono Lake, near the Tioga Pass.

alpenglow and tufaglow

Mono Lake Sunrise 1

Mono Lake Sunrise 2

Mono Lake Sunrise 3

Mono Lake Sunrise 4

Sunrise over tufa 1

sunrise tufa

Mono Lake tufa and alpenglow

Mono Lake Tufa

We spied a jackrabbit who’d climbed about four feet to perch on a tufa tower.

tufa bunny

And finally, a herd of tule elk just south of Lone Pine.

tule elk

tule elk 2

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~ by Survivor of BPD Parent on August 16, 2009.

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