Alabama Eureka Fossil … what do these words have in common?

We just spent a wonderful (if chilly) weekend up in the eastern Sierra, so that should give a hint about those words.

Machelle and I planned to visit Death Valley with Susan and Kim. We did, however leave our options as to what exactly that entailed open. While we drove up Friday evening we decided to shorten our first night drive and camp out in the Alabama hills above Lone Pine, then do a little climbing on Saturday. The cold front coming from the north off the Pacific made the temperatures a lot colder then we expected, but we set up our tents, bundled up, and dealt with it. Machelle and I arose to another beautiful Sierra Dawn. The clouds hung over the granite conice of the mountains, dropping snow on the peaks, while the rest of the sky was relatively clear. It didn’t seem to be warming up much so we did a little hiking up to the peak of the hills. After lokking around and taking pictures we headed back down to find some climbs. Unfortunately all the climbs seem to be north facing, and thus freaking cold!! We climbed a couple anyway, then went in search of a little sun. We managed to find one climb in the sun and we did that as the early afternoon waned.

Our next destination was Eureka Dunes in Northern Death Valley. since I wanted to get to the Dunes for sunset we needed to head out a little early, but I didn’t time it quite right and all the good light was gone by the time we reached the dunes. In the last light of the day we set up our tents and prepared for another freezing night. A little dinner and some wine in the moonless night and we decided to hit the hay. I woke with the dawn to head up the dunes with Machelle. We left Susan and Kim asleep as we headed to the east end of the dunes. Machelle was somehow under the impression that I would be happy taking a few pictures from the base of the dunes, when this was obviously not going to happen. We slogged our way up the 700 foot high dunes, and reached the first false peak just as the sun was sweeping across it. tired and sweaty, but inspired by the beautiful dunes we continued up to the peak of the dunes with Machelle only dragging her heels a little (we’re not at the top yet?!?). Once topped out we paused for a moment to admire the view, then plunged down the steep sides of the dune toward the camp.

Back at the tents Susan and Kim had finally risen, and were waiting when we got back. A little coffee and food to humanize us and we set off again back up the dunes so the other 2 could enjoy them as well. The light was no longer as good for the dune photography, but the walk was fun (yes I dragged Machelle all the way up the dunes twice, so sue me). We had a little fun leaping from dunes at the top then headed back down to find that more then half the day had vanished. Our original plan had been to head further into death valley to do Grotto Canyon, but we found that the roads were closed because of washouts, so our plan needed to change. Since we had already spent much of the day on the dunes we decided to head back west to Bishop, and go to see the Galen Rowell Gallery there and do a little shopping before getting a hotel room for a little warmth and some showers. This plan worked beautifully.

Monday morning we need to head out as early as possible since Susan had a client in the afternoon. We rose and packed up, stopped at the loony bean for coffee then hit the road, On the way back to LA we stopped at Fossil Falls, which is always fun. This dry river bed carved intricate shapes through a lava flow, then dropped off the side of a cliff, and it is always fun to explore. We did an impromptu photo session, and Machelle took over the camera again to get some pictures of me, then hopped back in the car and headed south.

It was another spectacular weekend, despite the cold, and I had a little over 1800 pictures to wade through. Here are the resulting photographs. Please enjoy them.

Remember to click through the link below to see the full gallery on smugmug.

p.s. there are a couple of pictures from the apartment thrown in, so the cute dog picture is not just extraneous.

Alabama Hills climb, Eureka Dunes Hike, and Fossil Falls interlude

Some pics from the apartment first …

Now the meat of the order:

I hope you have enjoyed this interlude from your madcap day.




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