Travels, 9-26 to 10-6-19

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.

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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.

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Silver Peak mine settling ponds

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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

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Yosemite NP, view to the NE


Yosemite NP, view to the N


Northern Yosemite NP, view to the N

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


The Central Valley


Oakland Airport

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.


Chestnut-backed chickadee


Chestnut-backed chickadee


Oak titmouse

While there, Kathy and I visited Point Reyes National Seashore.


Point Reyes and Tomales Bay, view to the N


Limantour trail


Great egret, Limantour trail


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.


Mob scene at Olmstedt Point


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.


Glacier-ground slabs, at Olmstedt Point


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.


Curved overhang, on Pywiack Dome. The brownish areas are glacial polish.


Tree grows in a pocket, on the slabs of Pywiack Dome


Pywiack Dome


Cathedral Peak, view to the E


Extreme telephoto view of Vogelsang Peak, view to the SE

Hike to May Lake, which is located to the north of the Tioga Rd.


Mt. Hoffman, from the trail


May Lake and Mt. Hoffman


May Lake reflections


May Lake


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.


View of the Cathedral Range, from the trail to May Lake

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:

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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


Middle Cathedral Rock, with Higher Cathedral Rock behind

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


Wasp nest and aspens

Three photos of reflections in Convict Lake, from the trail along its southern side …




and two photos of Convict Creek.


Inlet of Convict Creek


Shaded falls on Convict Creek


Camping at Convict Lake

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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