Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada detour

A detour from my usual babble on the SE Asian scene, we took this roadtrip after finishing business in the US West Coast.

Burning the wheels down the uneventful highway out of Vegas in the early morning, the landscape became decidedly more interesting once I swirled west into a country road which twirled between and around arid hills dotted with Yuccas and brown scrubs.

I only managed to find the turn-off to White Mountains after a couple of attempts (cursed GPS). My reason for being here was to see this old timer – the eastern bristle cone pine Pinus longaeva – the oldest living organism in the world. A specimen here was said to be more than 4800 years old but we would not be told where it grew.

To be frank there were more than 1 species of pine tree here, and they all looked similar to me. However, as one climbed towards the treeline, the concentration of the real McCoy became much denser.
Supposedly, there were slivers of living tissue sandwiched between those gnarled lifeless trunks, but then again, some may have been killed by lightning – hard to tell really, especially when they have so little leaves.
We pushed north under a wide sky glowing crimson to spend the night at Lee Vining.
Before the first ray of sun, we bolted out of the door to soak in the lunar ambience of Mono Lake and its ancient tufa towers. These calcium deposit were only visible after the lake was partially drained to irrigate orchards and now the local conservationists had stepped in to stop the waterline from dropping further.
I kept my fingers crossed at Lee Vining – sometimes Tioga Pass, our planned entry route to Yosemite, would be closed due to snow in October. This time luck was on our side. This was the view of the mountain range we would be traversing …..
Patchy fall colours were were starting to show as we entered Tioga pass, which ascended up to 3000m at the western Sierra Nevada before dipping towards the valley.....
....leading us right into the glacial-carved panoramas of Yosemite National Park.

At Olmstead Point, I took a vested interest in a strangely shaped pine, and hoped it would be a hundred times smaller so it could fit into my bonsai pot …..

Signing off .....


Hermes said...

Not my sort of landscapes but boy do you a good eye for a picture.

Rohrerbot said...

Your pictures are gorgeous. This would be a fantastic road trip to take.

Hort Log said...

Thanks all - it was a very good trip for me - most sights are no more than a couple of hours walk from the car park.

Related Posts with Thumbnails