November 27 – December 2, 2017
Some of my regular followers might recognize these mountains because I visited here in the spring of 2016. It was very different in the spring. I was caught in a snowstorm while in The Buttermilks and the wildflowers were beginning to bloom. I was also living in Mitzi back then (Mitzi was a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Mid-sized SUV) who was my much-loved home for several years. If you’d like to see that post click here: Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains March 2016.
Above ~ Camp Buttermilk in the spring of 2016
Above ~ The rocky area in the foreground is a world-renowned climbing area, made famous by climber and photographer Galen Rowell.
The Owens Valley is spectacularly beautiful. Driving Hwy 385 south of Mammoth Lakes is simply stunning. I decided to camp at Bishop for a few days where I have a favorite spot up on the volcanic tableland just north of the town of Bishop, on BLM lands.
Above ~ Hwy 385 looking north. There is a fairly good elevation gain/loss between Mammoth Lakes and the hot springs I mention in my previous travel post, and snow was expected at the higher elevations. You can see the highway to the right of the above image in the distance.
Owens Valley is the arid valley of the Owens River in eastern California in the United States, to the east of the Sierra Nevada and west of the White Mountains and Inyo Mountains on the west edge of the Great Basin section. The mountain peaks on either side reach above 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is about 4,000 feet (1,200 m), making the valley one of the deepest in the United States. The Sierra Nevada casts the valley in a rain shadow, which makes Owens Valley “the Land of Little Rain.” The bed of Owens Lake, now a predominantly dry endorheic alkali flat, sits on the southern end of the valley.
Above ~ Looking east towards the White Mountains from my boondocking spot.
Above ~ Looking west toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains from my boondocking spot at sunrise.
Above ~ The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is so long, it’s impossible to get more than a small portion of it in the frame at once, even with a wide-angle lens.
Above ~ Ducks at the park in Bishop, and a view of the Owens Valley from part way up the White Mountains. I showed this image to give you an idea of what one of the deepest valleys in the US looks like.
Above ~ For size comparison
Above ~ Looking towards Death Valley. (The dry lake you see is not in Death Valley though). If you’ve never been to Death Valley, you might be surprised to learn that the lowest point in the United States is in DV, at 282 ft below sea level, and the highest point in DV is Telescope Peak at 11,049 ft. This area is a far cry from flat desert.
Click the above image of Zabriskie Point to view it larger on my web page at Tranquil Light Photography.com. I have another image for sale called ‘Hiking to Zabriskie Point’ which shows a hiker on the other side of the point, and it puts everything into perspective. You really do have to view it full size to appreciate it.
To see these incredible views of the Owens Valley I had driven from Bishop to Big Pine south on Hwy 385, then east on Hwy 168 towards the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, 26 miles up a very steep, windy, narrow (but paved) road. When I did this in 2016 I actually burned up my A/C belt driving up this road. Those 26 miles can easily take 45 – 60 minutes to drive up.
In my next post, I’ll be going for a hike in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Until then, please feel free to share this post on your favorite social media platform.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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