November 26, 2015

11/8/15 - Alabama Hills

Alabama Hills Recreation Area is just outside Lone Pine, California. I couldn't get a movie map from the Film History Museum, but I did have a  BLM map of the area, with locatons for some of the arches and movies.

Alabama Hills was named after a Confederate warship called the C.S.S Alabama by southern sympathizers during the Civil War. The name was used for their mining claims and it stuck.

First thing we saw was this painted rock.  (I found out later that the locals repaint it occasionally...and they call it Brenda.)  I climbed up on top of it, but George stayed down by the truck--or in it, as shown.
It's just gorgeous out here with the big round rocks scattered all around, and the Sierra Nevadas in the distance.  That's Mount Whitney in the middle--the highest mountain in the lower 48--14,505'.  (I looked it up.)
We drove about a mile and a half and stopped at the Arch Loop Trailhead.  The trail starts off across the desert, but ends up in the rocks pretty soon.
The map showed this was the trail to Mobius Arch.  I was surprised when we found this one first.  It's called (ready for this?) Heart Arch.  It's such a perfect heart, it wouldn't have worked to call it anything else.
Next up was Lathe Arch.  The standard view is through it to the I took a picture of it with the mountains in the background.  Say what you want about cliches, they really do work well.
Just in case you don't know what a "mobius" is, I looked it up for you.  Webster's says a Mobius strip is a one-sided surface that is constructed from a rectangle by holding one end fixed, rotating the opposite end through 180 degrees, and joining it to the first end. Ye gods!  Here's an easier way to look at it:  take a paper strip and give it a half-twist, then join the ends together to form a loop. Then if you draw a line down the middle starting at the seam, you end up back at the seam, but on the other side.  Pretty cool.  So the twist on this arch is like the twist on a mobius strip, hence Mobius Arch. The view is Mt. Whitney again.  This is the traditional symbol for the Alabama Hills.
The view from the other side is of Lone Pine Peak.  I probably could have told you it was another arch and you'd believe me because it looks so very different from this side. 
Everywhere you walk along the trail are interesting formations.
And there are arches everywhere you look.  This is a pretty little one, but it is an arch nonetheless. From this angle, it almost looks like another heart but I think it's mostly shadows.
Here's Mount Whitney again.  The two peaks on the left that look like twins are called The Needles and make it very easy to identify Mount Whitney.
The clouds were doing really interesting things over the Sierras.  George got dizzy trying to take pictures of the F-15's from China Lake practice diving over the peaks, then pulling straight up.
After we got back to the truck, I tried to talk George into another hike to more arches or going to some of the movie sites.  He wasn't much interested. So I talked him into a drive up the Whitney Portal Road towards the mountains.
This is what the Owens Valley and the Alabama Hills look from the road up.
As soon as we saw the first snow on the road, George turned around.  Before we headed back down, I got one last picture of the east face of Mount Whitney.  I think it's another standard photo, but it's mine and I like it.
I wonder where the clouds went?

More pictures of the Alabama Hills.

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