April 29, 2014 Bodega Bay, California

Pelican shadows
Pelican shadows

Exploring the Bodega Bay Area

This morning I drove down Route 1 to Tomales and then west on Tomales Road to check out a few of the side roads that wandered through the many dairy farms in the area.

California dairy country
California dairy country

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

The many steep hills in this area are covered with lush grass and at times you see Holsteins grazing in grass that reaches their shoulders, and, boy, are there a lot of Holsteins around here. I had no idea this region hosted as many dairy farms as it does, and not the new factory type farms where all the cows are crowded under a roof and force fed, but the wide open pastureland type where the cows roam and browse the lush scenic hills all day.

California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies
California Poppies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadside poppies
Roadside poppies

Pretty hard to pass by all the California Poppies growing evey where hereabouts.

Purple flowers
Purple flowers
Wildflowers
Wildflowers

Or all the other wildflowers growing roadside.

Bodega dunes
Bodega dunes
California coast
California coast
California coast
California coast
California coast
California coast

In the afternoon I drove north a few miles to explore some of the nearby coast, very scenic.

I returned to my home park to go out to the west end of the road to watch the sunset, hoping for a great one that just didn’t happen.

Coastline at Bodega Bay
Coastline at Bodega Bay
Surf and gulls
Surf and gull
Surf and gulls
Surf and gulls

 

Seaside cliffs at sunset
Seaside cliffs at sunset

The shot directly above happens to be one of my favorite shots of the colors on the coast. The setting sun really brought this scene to life. Click the image to see a better version!

But while waiting, I did get some nice surf shots. There were probably 100 or so people here for the sunset, some with wine and cheese, others puffing on some “fragrant” cigarettes, and some climbing down the rocks to the small sandy beach far below the cliffs.

Mouth of Bodega Bay
Mouth of Bodega Bay
Sunset surf
Sunset surf
The hills are alive - with flowers
The hills are alive – with flowers

 

 

 

 

Beach at Bodega
Beach at Bodega
Poppies at the beach
Poppies at the beach

 

 

 

 

April 10, 2014 Alabama Hills, California

Lupines and the Sierras
Lupines and the Sierras

A Day Trip to Big Pine

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper image.

Alabama Hills pano
Alabama Hills pano
Tuttle Creek Landscape
Tuttle Creek Landscape
The Sierras from Tuttle Creek
The Sierras from Tuttle Creek
Desert lupines
Desert lupines

Made an early morning trip back to the road that followed Tuttle Creek through the rocks and found a couple more clumps of Lupines at the bottom of the canyon,

Higher elevations
Indian Paintbrush

an Indian Paintbrush plant,

Desert bloom
Desert bloom
Desert bloom
Desert bloom
Alabama Hills pano
Alabama Hills

 

 

 

 

 

and more yellow flowers against the canyon walls.

 

Having skipped by it on my way in a couple of days ago, I decided to go back down 395 a little and check out the Visitor’s Center. An informative stop that was worth the time. I picked up a birding guide to the Eastern Sierras and a Mono County back roads guide that I plan to put to good use.

I then headed north on route 395 intending to check out several of the birding sites in my new guide as I made my way up to Big Pine.

Snow capped peaks
Higher elevations
Mountains
Higher elevations

I drove the long ascent to Glacier Lodge but did not see nor even hear a single bird as I made the ascent to a beautiful pine forested mountain stream, very picturesque, and a whole lot cooler than down on the valley floor. It would appear that although spring has arrived at 3700’, it has yet to come at 8000’.

The Tinemaha Reservoir also yielded nothing, but I did spot an older fisherman returning to his car with three very nice trout on his stringer.

A Desert Flower Bed

Red Hills
Red Hills

Along route 395 I noticed some red coloration on a couple of slopes to the west.

Lupines and the Sierras
Lupines and the Sierras
Desert lupines
Desert lupines
Lupines and the Sierras
Lupines and the Sierras
Lupines and the Sierras
Lupines and the Sierras

 

 

 

 

 

Desert lupines
Desert lupines

I found a side road that would allow me to get a little closer view of this, and on my way there stumbled on these gorgeous lupines and yellow flowers bordering a pasture.

Not so wild burro
Not so wild burro

 

 

While shooting these lupines, I spotted what I assumed was a wild burro, and as luck would have it, he didn’t immediately flee, but just stood and stared at me. As I took some shots and he came ever closer, and it became pretty apparent that wild, he was not. Nice ears though!

Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery

Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery

My last stop was the now non functioning Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, also listed as a good spot in the bird guide. The habitat sure looked good, but once again, not even a peep.

Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery
Hatchery trout
Hatchery trout

The structure itself though was something else! Remember, this building housed a functioning fish hatchery for many years. Inside, it did indeed look like a fish hatchery should look, but what a grand exterior. We Americans had a lot of style way back when.

Meanwhile, Back at the Campsite

Interesting cloud
Interesting cloud

This interesting cloud or edge of a front hung motionless in the sky above the Alabama Hills today from 1 PM until just after sunset, never moved. I had never seen a motionless cloud before.

Maltese
Time for a walk
Jenny's becoming attached to the desert
Jenny’s becoming attached to the desert
Evening constitutional
Evening constitutional

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dogs seem to enjoy their freedom here in the desert and look forward to morning and evening walks out through the sagebrush. Without fail, they manage to bring a little of the desert back with them when we return to the motorhome.

Rock jumble at sunrise
Rock jumble at sunrise
Sunrise on the Alabama Hills
Sunrise on the Alabama Hills
Sunrise over the Alabama Hills
Sunrise over the Alabama Hills

Last light on the Alabama HillsLast light on the Alabama Hills

 

 

April 8, 2014 Alabama Hills, California

Alabama Hills
Alabama Hills

I took a spin around the northern end of the rock formations here at the Alabama Hills this morning and took a few rock formation shots

Moving out
Moving out

A fellow boondocker loading up his ATV into his rather muscular motorhome. This the fourth vehicle of this kind I have encountered in my travels, all of them with foreign registrations. Notice the owner in the small compartment with the open door as he activates a winch to load the ATV.

Valentine hideout
Valentine hideout
The cave
The cave

This ” cave ” I assume is product of erosion like the Valentine cave in the first image. These are found all over the hills here and some, like the one beside my motorhome have been enhanced by man, as you can clearly see stone chiseling marks on the soft sandstone.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Gotta be a gunslinger hiding somewhere in them thar rocks
Gotta be a gunslinger hiding somewhere in them thar rocks
A view of the rock jumble behind my campsite
A view of the rock jumble behind my campsite
Alabama Hills
Alabama Hills

and some shots of desert flowers. Because of a lack of winter rains, the desert bloom is supposed to be pretty meager this year.

Another desert flowerbed
Another desert flowerbed
Desert flowerbed
Desert flowerbed
Desert shrub
Desert shrub
Desert violet?
Desert violet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert flowers
Desert flower

 

 

 

But if you look closely, you do see all kinds of flowers, but they are definitely of a smallish nature.

 

 

 

Desert daisies
Desert daisies
Tiny yellow desert flowers
Tiny yellow desert flowers 

These yellow flowers measure little more than an eighth of an inch across and in places carpet the bottoms of the desert washes.

White desert flower
White desert flower

These also carpet the desert floor and the blooms maybe stretch out to a quarter of an inch.

Desert flowerbed
Desert flowerbed

So the color is there, you just have to look closely to see it.

Another shot of my campsite
Another shot of my campsite
A closeup of a jumble behind my campsite
A closeup of a jumble behind my campsite