Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tufa, snow, and sierras!

New to me this winter is getting to visit the Owens Valley and Mammoth Lakes, California, where my boyfriend, Brian, lives.  Here are some pictures of my visits to those places.

At Mono Lake, you can see unusual tufa formations all along the shoreline.

And even islands of tufa!

Here's Brian, leaning on a beautiful Jeffrey Pine in Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes, CA

And here I am.  I sure do love hiking in national forests!  I don't get to do that in Death Valley.

Brian and I pose next to what I think is a cedar tree

Hiking in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA

Brian, I don't think you're going to be able to push that rock over!
A bird's-eye view of the Alabama Hills.  Many John Wayne movies and other old westerns were filmed here.

Hiking the Mt. Whitney Recreation trail near Lone Pine.  Mt. Whitney is the tallest peak in the U.S. outside of Alaska.

The cliffs of insanity on Mt. Whitney

Back in California

Hello friends!  I returned to Death Valley in December of 2013 for another winter season.  It's been wonderful to be back in Death Valley.  One could spend their entire life here and not see all of this giant park (over 3 million acres).  Here are some pictures of what I've been up to. 

A piece of copper in southern Death Valley

The beautiful colors of Kaleidoscope Canyon in southern Death Valley

Kaleidoscope Canyon's colors contrast nicely against the blue desert sky

My hiking partner and friend, Diane, posed in front of a colorfully banded rock wall

Me atop Nevares Peak in Death Valley.  I did not make it to the true summit because according to one old co-worker, my heart was not pure.  To the left of my right shoulder is Cow Creek housing where all of the rangers live.

My good friend Alex accompanied me to Nevares Peak.  Her heart was not pure enough either. 
At the base of Nevares Peak is Nevares cabin where an old time prospector lived.  Notice there's a spring here which is where our drinking water comes from. 

A rustic little public use cabin on BLM land just south of Death Valley

Alex and I spent the night at the little cabin and enjoyed a pretty sunset.

The following morning at the little cabin

The beautiful waters of Saratoga Spring in southern Death Valley

The Ibex Dunes in southern Death Valley are one of five dune systems in the park.  I've now only yet to see one of them, the Saline Valley dunes.

Monarch Canyon, in the Grapevine Mountains, has a very high waterfall, but it is only a trickle.

I do not know the name of this pretty plant, but it is pretty with Pyramid Peak in the background. 

The sunset over Telescope Peak (highest mountain in the park at 11,049ft.) seen from the front door of my dorm

While hiking in Greenwater Valley in Death Valley, I saw this rock (an old lava flow) that looks like a turtle.

Beautiful Greenwater Valley, one of my new favorite places in the park