Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Western Place for Westerns

We just returned from a three-day trip to Death Valley and some other places on the way there and back. I'll discuss some of these places in the next few posts.

On the way there, we stopped in an area called the Alabama Hills, which are not in Alabama but California. This place is immediately west of Lone Pine. Besides appearing in some photos I've seen, many western movies have been shot there. (One of my personal favorites is "Joe Kidd" starring Clint Eastwood).

The Alabama Hills feature low-growing scrub, formations that look like piles of boulders, and the eastern face of the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains, including Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states of the USA. (It turns out the highest AND lowest points in the 48 continental states are about two hours' drive apart -- the lowest spot is Badwater in Death Valley).

We plan to go back to the Alabama Hills some day and spend more time there, preferably before the day gets too late and the sun is too far behind the mountains, placing them in their own shadow -- that was somewhat of a problem the day we were there. Although the picture I've shown here doesn't happen to include Mt. Whitney (which is to the left of this view), it gives a good idea of what this place looks like. If you're a fan of westerns, you may even have a deja vu moment!

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