On September 26, I flew Southwest Airlines from Albuquerque to Oakland. This route usually provides views of the Grand Canyon and the Sierras, but the vagaries of seating in the plane, the clarity of the windows, the time of day and the presence or absence of clouds determines what kind of photos I get.
Leaving Albuquerque, view to the north. The Sandia Mountains are seen in upper right. The Rio Grande runs through the center of the photo, and lava flows are seen on the left. View to the NE.
Clouds covered most of the rest of New Mexico and Arizona, including all of the Grand Canyon. But, I did get this view of the gorge of the Little Colorado, which here runs right to left through the center of the photo.
Gorge of the Little Colorado River, view to the N
And, west of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead showed up.
At the head of Lake Mead, where the brown water of the Colorado River is brought to a complete halt against the blue water of the lake. A distinct boundary is encountered at this point. Due to a continuing drought, the lake has been shrinking, and, thus, the end of current has been advancing downstream. Since 2008, it has advanced about four miles downstream. View to the N.
I spotted the following two sights in western Nevada, which I later ID’ed with Google Earth.
Silver Peak mine settling ponds
Mt. Dubois (13,565 feet), in the White Mountains, view to the NE
Then, with mostly clear skies. we crossed into California, flying to the south of Mono Lake, and over Yosemite NP.
Mono Lake and Yosemite NP, view to the NE
Yosemite NP, view to the NE
The plane passed directly over Yosemite Valley, and then left the High Sierra behind. We then flew over the Tuolomne River
Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor are on tributaries of the Tuolomne River, view to the N
Built to provide drinking water to San Francisco, Hetchhetchy Dam drowns the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne River. View to the NE.
New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River. This is where, in 1973, the river conservationist, Mark Dubois, chained himself to a rock, to protest the dam.
New Melones Dam floods the Stanislaus River, view to the NE
I was picked up by my son, Ethan, after which we drove to Penngrove (in Sonoma County), to the home that he and wife Flo had recently purchased. A beautiful home in the country! Kathy joined me there, driving our van up from Simi Valley, where she had attended her high school 50th reunion.
Ethan does breakfast
L to R: Flo’s dog, Miss America, Kathy, me and Ethan
And Ethan had filled the bird feeders.
While there, Kathy and I visited Point Reyes National Seashore.
Point Reyes and Tomales Bay, view to the N
Great egret, Limantour trail
Tule elk, near Drake’s Beach
Heermann’s (grey) and other gulls, Drake’s Beach, Point Reyes
Driftwood teepee, Drakes’s Beach
Next up was Yosemite! Here are some scenes from the Tioga Rd.
A favorite Sierra tree – the Sierra juniper
A flock of Red crossbills
Red crossbills. Their “crossed” bills are used for opening up pine cones.
Seen from Olmstedt Point, the sweeping granite slabs of Clouds Rest Peak, which is located at the upper end of Yosemite Valley. The Quarter Domes are seen to the right. View to the S.
From Olmstedt Point, Half Dome, view to the S
From further west on the Tioga Rd, a telephoto view of the upper half of Half Dome. Just barely visible are climbers on the Cable route, to the sunlit-side of the shadow line. View to the S.
Cathedral Peak, view to the E
Hike to May Lake, which is located to the north of the Tioga Rd.
May Lake reflections
Cathedral Peak and Echo Peaks, view to the E
Cathedral Peak was where, in 1967, Glen Denny and I made the 12 minute movie “Nyala”, of me soloing the regular route. As I recall, it later won a prize at the Trento Film Festival.
We passed through Yosemite Valley twice in one day. I took this extreme telephoto photo of Reed’s Pinnacle from the road to Wawona, in the AM. Here, a climber in an orange shirt is seen on the Direct Route, with two other climbers at the top of the pitch. The regular route on Reed’s was my last climb in the Valley. I took a fall on the last pitch, breaking my left ankle and cheek bone. I tell that story in another post: wordpress.com/post/believesteve.org/8276
Reed’s Pinnacle Direct
On our next pass through the Valley, in the PM, a fire had just begun down valley, and smoked things out.
Cathedral Spires, shrouded by smoke
In the old days (early 60s) I climbed both spires and the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock.
We left the Park via Tioga Pass, headed home. Our last stop in California was Convict Lake, on the east side of the Sierras.
Convict Lake, Laurel Mountain and the Sevehah Cliffs
Three photos of reflections in Convict Lake, from the trail along its southern side …
and two photos of Convict Creek.