The weather was a lot nicer on Wednesday morning, so we decided to head north to check out a few things along US-395 up towards the town of Independence.
Nice view of the mountains from the hotel parking lot.
Our first stop, after a great breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe, was Manzanar National Historic Site, about halfway between Lone Pine and Independence.
We had been there before, so we did not spend a lot of time this visit. Anyone passing through this area should stop and see this, and learn about the history.
From the back of the camp there is pretty much nothing until you get to the base of the Sierras.
Our next stop was the old Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, which was built in 1917. The interpretive center was closed the day we were there, but we mostly just wanted to see the building itself, with the mountains in the background.
Our original plan for the day had been to drive up to see the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, in the White Mountains at about 11,000' elevation. We spoke with the Forest Service rangers and they strongly suggested that we wait for better weather and road conditions later in the year. Heather pulled out the map and looked for something else interesting to check out. She found a small road on the map labeled Onion Valley Road, that appeared to head west from Independence up into the mountains to a meadow.
Onion Valley Road winds its way up to 9,200' elevation at the site of the highest pack horse station in the Sierras, at the eastern side the Kearsarge Pass. It was grey and cold at the end of the road, with a bit of snow just starting to fall. The views from the road were spectacular.
Once we got back down towards the valley we checked out some side roads.
Decisions . . . decisions . . .
When we do these road trips I like to do at least some advance research on things to see and do. More often than not we'll change or modify the itinerary to suit what we actually encounter or feel like along the way, and sometimes I'll just plain forget that something is there.
When we were coming down from Whitney Portal on Tuesday we stopped at one point to get some pictures of the valley below. A driver heading uphill, who could see we were headed down, stopped in the road to ask me if the waterfall at Whitney Portal was flowing. After I told him that we did not see it, Heather said to me "There's a waterfall up there?" in that tone of voice that really means "You knew there was a waterfall that I would really want to see, and you didn't take me there?" I did know about it before we got there, but once we got there I completely forgott that there is a waterfall at the end of Whitney Portal Road, not far at all from where we were.
So, on Wednesday on our way back south to Lone Pine, when the weather was a lot warmer, and the sun was more or less out, we decided to take the backroads across the outside of the Alabama Hills and go back up to Whitney Portal to find the waterfall. This time we could actually see the mountains we were driving towards.
Continued in Part 4.
Photography . . . Travel . . .
- Frank B. Baiamonte
- San Diego, California, United States
- About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.
- More Amur Leopard Cubs - San Diego Zoo
- Amur Leopard Cub - San Diego Zoo
- Road Trip - Lone Pine, California - Part 1
- Road Trip - Lone Pine, California - Part 2
- Road Trip - Lone Pine, California - Part 3
- Road Trip - Lone Pine, California - Part 4
- Road Trip - Lone Pine, California - Part 5
- Amur Leopard Cubs - San Diego Zoo
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Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.