Above the High Sierra

Part 1, Flying Over the High Sierras

I took Sierra pictures on the way to San Francisco, but this this trip also brought me back.  In both directions I also had good views of the Spring Range near Las Vegas (click on line to go to the first Spring Range page).

The scenery became interesting for me once we approached the White Mountains and I could see Walker Lake to the north:

Soon we were over the White Mountains which contain Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada, on the California border.  The next three photos show the Whites passing beneath us, always with a focus on Walker Lake:

Soon we were past the Whites, but could still make out Walker Lake:

Then off in the distance, Mono Lake came into view:

At this point I looked down and realized there was more to see directly below me, like Lake Crowley on the Owens River.  I mistakenly assumed this was a feed to Mono Lake, instead, like Mono, it is fed by Sierra runoff, and it flows south.

The next landmark to come into view was the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, near the next most likely place to see explosive volcanism in the next thousand years or so:

To the city's immediate west lies Mammoth Mountain, with its many ski trails:

It wasn't long after this that we crossed over the higher part of the Sierras, and I was surprised to see some snow on the rock at the higher elevations:

With a bit of camera zoom, the lakes and snowfields of October came into better focus:

Backing off the zoom, I saw the start of a canyon, and it dawned on me that I ought to be able to see Yosemite Valley below me soon.

Yosemite Valley from the Air

Sure enough, the familiar shape of Yosemite Valley's Half Dome came into view as soon as I began to look for it.  Here is Half Dome with some zoom, just left of center (the big rock to its right is part of the north wall of Yosemite Valley):

Just a few seconds later, here it is agin to the right in the photo, and mid-level, with a direct view into the Yosemite Valley itself through the tributary canyon just to Half Dome's left:

Here is looking back at Half Dome with a view directly into the bottom of Yosemite Valley:

Another highlight of Yosemite Valley is El Capitan, a giant rock in the north wall. Here it is to the left with Half Dome to the right:

And here is a good El Capitan view, center of the photo:

Given that it was a dry Summer following a wet Winter, there is much dry brush to burn, so it is no wonder that it was hard to take an El Capitan photo without the smoke from a forest fire in the picture:

But as you can see in the above photos, there is much beautiful country in the High Sierra, with Yosemite its Crown Jewel.  And a few fires are not going to spoil it all.  After all, these followed a thunderstrom that was long on lightning and short on rain, so it is all part of nature's way of dealing with overgrowth.

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