Exploring the Alabama Hills 2017

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Visiting the Arch Trail Loop – “Venturing out for a good round of shots.”

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

On this new spring day, my travel companion and I traveled to the wonderful land of Alabama Hills for some exploration and photography. The weather was very clear and the sun was shining as bright as it could on us, but no more than a typical sunny day in Winter. Julia and I wanted to revisit the Mobius Arch trial loop and being a weekday, we had the place all to ourselves for a little while at least.

“Lone Pine Peak rises high over the Alabama Hills.”

Arch Trail Loop

GPS Coordinates: 36.588535° N, 118.231206° W

To the west of the small town of Lone Pine, there is a place where hundreds of films were made. Travel down Whitney Portal Road and you will run across “Movie Road” which marks the entrance to a land of fire and ice. Travel a bit further down the road and the landscape from within the Alabama Hills region takes on a very alien appearance. Traveling through this part of the Eastern Sierra Nevada is a definite “Must” for any venturer.

“The trail to the Mobius Arch and others is clearly marked so you won’t be getting lost so easy here.”

“Hiking down the small wash at the start of the trail opens op a superb photo opportunity of Mt. Whitney.”

“Horseshoe Meadows Road appears in the distant background.”

“Julia scouts the area for her next epic shot.”

“These granite rock formations are home to dozens of natural arches of various sizes.”

“Upon closer inspection, you will find some areas filled with colorful lichen.”

“Julia snaps me a nice shot at the hills, definitely having a good day so far.”

The Mobius Arch – “A perfect time and place to soak in the surroundings.”

The trail to the arch is quite short and so we arrived within 30 minutes. This is our 3rd time visiting the Mobius Arch together and my 5th. There are no photos or words that can describe the serenity and peace that you experience in this place. This is one of those things in life that you just have to experience in person to really understand. Julia and I hung around this area for quite a while and at one point, I actually stopped obsessing with the photo taking and just relaxed for a bit on one of the granite rocks. Sitting there and gazing upon the immense beauty of this region was the best form of meditation I knew.

“We made it to the Mobius Arch in very little time, the trail isn’t very long.”

“The Mobius Arch is the biggest natural arch in the Alabama Hills.”

“Here is a shot of the Arch with another photo enthusiast for scale.”

“Sometimes I get so wrapped up in getting the shot that I have to remind myself to sit back and enjoy the view.”

After spending a short while at the Mobius Arch, Julia and I decided to slowly make our way back to the Starship. It was getting close to lunch time and we were starting to feel it. On the way out we stopped from place to place taking more photos and discovering new areas of the Arch Trails loop.

“There were the tiniest little flowers blooming all over the dry wash along the trail.”

“They looked like thousands of microscopic bouquets.”

“One last glorious shot of Whitney before heading off to lunch.”

“Whitney made a storm.”

While Julia and I were back in Lone Pine for some late lunch, Mt. Whitney and her granite neighbors were doing what they have a tendency to do… “Create Weather!” It’s not uncommon for mountains of this altitude to generate their own weather on an otherwise sunny day. When the Eastern Sierras create weather, it can happen fast and within the hour. Often times it will be a cool rain, but when it gets serious, there will be lightning and hail. We lucked out and got a nice, gentle rainfall with some occasional ominous looking clouds during the setting sun.

“The sun was getting low on the horizon and we drove into the rain to capture the last moments.”

“The rain was coming in patches and turned into small hail pellets at times.”

“We traveled down a dirt trail to get some different angles of the stormy sierra scene.”

“We got out and walked around a bit, we spotted the strangest looking boulder.”

“Then hit pay dirt, I found the heart of the region.”

“Lone Pine Peak was being concealed by the swaths of rain, snow, and hail.”

“I actually found my first Jumping Cholla out here! I never expected these to lurk in this area.”

“The small weather system compiled so much that it looked like a raging storm by the time it reached Lone Pin to the east.”

“The last moments of the day finish with a round of cloudy mountain peaks.”

It was an amazing day of meteorological contrast. We started with sunny clear skies and quickly moved to dark and rainy weather. Julia and I wanted to explore so many more regions of the Alabama Hills, but it was our last day in town and we had to go home. The Eastern Sierra Nevada will never get old for me, this gigantic 250 mile long playground has enough hidden treasures and secrets to last a thousand lifetimes. I will definitely be returning in a few months to witness the insane water flows that will be occurring as a result of the immense snowpack that we got this year. For now, it’s time for the Starship to head southbound.

Until the next travel blog, remember to get out there and “Shoot the Planet!”



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