During the month of June 2019, I set out on a month long road trip to capture the
essence of the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. I spent 3-4 months that
spring reading books and searching the web for information. Even with that effort,
what I saw and photographed was just a fraction of the history and beauty of
Mobius arch and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous US
The Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain crest runs north and south down the center
of the state of California, almost like the backbone of the state. Long ago,
glaciers formed dozens of canyons running eastward from the crest down to
the high desert which lies along the eastern edge of California. US Highway 395 runs
north and south thru this high desert paralleling the mountain crest.
Mining and timber activities in the 1800s created access roads up many of
these canyons. These roads now lead adventurers to trailheads giving access
to large wilderness areas such as the John Muir, Ansel Adams, White Mountain,
and Hoover wildernesses. Thousands of miles of hiking trails lure the young and fit,
including the real challenge, the Pacific Crest Trail.
Peaks above Lake Sabrina near Bishop, CA.
The “roadmap” I used to explore these canyons was 2 books by Sharon Giacomazzi.
The titles are Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons, Sonora Pass To Pine Creek
and Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons, Bishop To Lone Pine. The tremendous
amount of detail she puts into these books is a large part of why it took me 3-4
months of study to feel prepared for this trip. Sharon details each canyon,
the roads leading to the trailheads, and the trails leading up into the mountains
from each trail head. It suited my 68 years old legs to take only short excursions up
each canyon, but younger legs can travel many more miles, even up to the crest in
some canyons, if desired.
Some of the mineral Tufas at Mono Lake near Lee Vining CA
Along with the mountain scenery I wished to capture, I had several sites in mind that
I wanted to photograph. I made plans to visit the ghost town of Bodie, Ca., Mono
Lake with its striking tufa structures, the Bristlecone Pine Forest, and the Alabama
Hills where approximately 400 movies have been filmed. These include most of
the Western genre films from 1920 up to recent films like"Iron Man” with Robert
Downey Jr. ( the cave scenes )
One of the many old buildings at Bodie State Park
I broke up the trip by staying at 5 different RV parks, ranging from 3 days to 8 days
at a site. These were Carson City, NV., Bridgeport, CA., June Lake CA., Bishop CA., and
Lone Pine, CA. Since this is a blog and not a book, I will break down this trip into 3
more blog posts, starting at the north end of the route and working my way south.
Small bites of a big apple. Hope you read all the posts and take the trip with
You can see all of my photos taken on this Eastern Sierra Nevada roadtrip at https://unsplash.com/@stp_com