Stargazing Calendar |
Art Galley |
Ladera Ranch, Ca, 92694
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Stargazing Calendar |
Art Galley |
Mountains and Mars
Midway through our roadtrip to the base of Mt. Whitney we take a pit stop to stretch our legs in an alien landscape just off Highway 395.
These otherworldly rock formations have served as a backdrop in numerous Hollywood movies.
Movies including: Jurassic Park, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Indiana Jones, Holes, & The Ten Commandments, among others.
Water trickles off the cliffside as we struggle to find secure footing during our climb.
Our new vantage point gives us a wide open glimpse of our rain-soaked surroundings.
The rain created a soupy & slippery mud that made our climb back down a bit precarious.
Best way to overcome the mud: surfing down
Cosmonaut down! Incline, mud & overconfidence don't mix.
Eager to reach the snowy slopes of Mt. Whitney we slip n' slide our way to the truck.
Back on level ground we cross the wrinkled creek as it meets the normally baron hillsides, brought to life by the unusually wet winter. Now off to Mt. Whitney we go!
When the road the ends (or closes), the misadventure begins.
With no set plan we hop out of the car & embark into the remarkable wonderland near the base of Mt. Whitney.
Once inside the cover of the forest, we hear the sound of water rushing in the distance.
Just ahead we find a bridge & cross the creek....some of us tempting fate more than others.
We now begin our ascent upwards with the hope of finding an elevated view with good exposure of our surroundings.
Moving through deep snow without snow shoes takes some serious work! We stop to take a quick break.
Alas, after our break we find a good spot to take in the forest below, but the thick clouds shroud the foothills & valley.
Continuing up the sometimes knee deep snowy slopes we're rewarded with a brief break in the cloud cover.
Hearing the rumbling sound of swiftly moving water in the distance we continue further in search of its source.
Eventually we discovered an icy waterfall, barely visible as it raged under & around the rocky monoliths.
As our stomachs begin to grumble, we hop back down the mountain towards our truck.
The path back becomes thick with foliage.
Devoid of snowshoes our movement is slow, but time passes blissfully amid the serene beauty of the Sierras.
After the long day, it feels good to kick back & eat. We share stories of past misadventures & recount the day's most memorable moments.
Once the stars appear, we walk mere steps away from camp to the lakeshore to gaze at the unpolluted twinkling sky.
Night passes & the early morning sun shines its golden light against the snowcapped granite pinnacles mirrored in our campside lake.
With the clouds billowing in the distance, they seem to dance along the mountain ridges.
Before we breakdown camp to find a new area to explore we scarf down some breakfast, clouds now swiftly passing overhead.
Further down Highway 395 we discover a volcanic landscape dotted with cinder cones.
Countless eruptions spewed magma across the desert leaving behind a garden of blackened lava rocks.
Further along we reach a canyon forged by fire & sculpted by water.
One particular volcanic eruption temporarily redirected the Owens Valley River over an existing bed of lava rock creating this magnificent scar in the Earth.
With a giant cinder cone looming behind, we look for a route to descend into the lava canyon.
Good hand holds in the lava rock make the steep climb down relatively easy.
Inside the first flat section we scramble around the narrowing chasm before us.
Attempting to get further down to another perch with a better view to cook & relax we set off on another climb.
This will do!
Cooking in a climber's kitchen. Time to eat!
Nestled on this secluded stone balcony, we felt like desperados of the ole' Wild West.
Rested with full bellies we now leap back up the canyon with an idea to climb the volcano we had seen towering above us earlier.
Crossing the lava rock we eye our target destination.
Near the base of the Volcano we encounter a movie film crew in action.
Once past the film set, we marvel at the stark alien features of this Mars-like volcano.
The wind-swept sand dunes shift from a scarlet red to a mystifying blackened hue.
Our ascent is hampered by sandy footing & sudden heat radiating from beneath the ground, but we push on past some odd-looking pale bushes full of stoke none-the-less.
With our climb in elevation we gain a vantage of the volcanic imprints on this section of the Mojave Desert.
Off to the side, Lost Lake shows off the unusually high water level. Its normally bone dry with cracked salt flats compacted like cement.
Now on the rim of the volcano, we clamor along its rocky spine.
The catastrophic magnitude of the prehistoric eruptions is evident from atop. Nearly half the Volcano bursted, spewing molten lava over what is now Highway 395.
Far in the distance the hills bare giant lava flows from other past eruptions. If you look close, the darker rock matter to the left of the tallest hill harbors the largest magma flow.
Gravity now in our favor, we swiftly traverse down the volcanic sands.
Places like this start to make it obvious why we named the brand what did. Because every roadtripping misaventurer is like a space bound Cosmonaut. Earth is more alien than we often realize.
We've been to deserts that have reminded us of the Moon, but none has ever resembled Mars like this.
Can't emphasize how rad it was to witness this lake filled. During 5 visits, this is the only time any water was present. Its called Lost Lake for a reason, sometimes not appearing for years on end.
Grouped around the truck, we soak in the final moments of a truly special misadventure. Until next time Comrades! Thanks for checking out the Misadventure.
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