Monday, January 11, 2016

El Nino Winter at the Sierra Nevadas


 
Frozen Lakes, Snow-flocked Pines and Tufa Towers
 

With the first storms of 2016 El Nino winter, I was interested to see how much snowpack there was on the Eastern Sierra Nevadas since January of 2014.  I tried to schedule my photo-adventure between storms since my travels took me over the Anchorite Pass and an elevation of 8379 feet.  Leaving early on a sunny but cold Friday, I was relieved that the road from Hawthorne, Nevada to Lee Vinning, California was dry with only a few icy spots. 

Towering above the town of Lee Vinning, the snow covered High Sierras stand out against the deep blue western sky with clouds forming from the warming sun. 


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Standing tall on the horizon, Eagle Peak is the highest point on the Buckeye Ridge with an elevation of 11845 feet (3610 m), located just southwest of Bridgeport, California.  


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To the south and just before the quaint town of Lee Vinning, winter accents the shores of Mono Lake.  The dark area on the background to the right is Paoha Island, a volcanic island formed by lakebed sediments deposited above volcanic domes. 


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Mono Lake's Tufa Towers, unusual limestone formations that result from a chemical reaction when calcium in underwater springs mixes with carbonates in the lake water.  Some of the Tufa Towers may grow to a height of 30 feet (9.144m).  


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 Aspens still showing leaves with fall colors line the beginning of Tioga Pass.  This scenic drive through the eastern entry point of Yosemite Park is closed during the snow season due to the high elevation, "S" curves and sheer drop-offs.   

 
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Just ahead, Mt. Gibbs and the parent peak, Mt. Dana dominate the afternoon sky with a majestic preview of the eastern part of Yosemite.  Mt. Dana's active glacier, the Dana Glacier that flows near the mountain's top at 13,053 feet (3978.55 m) is hardly visible with the snow cover and afternoon shade.


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Rugged terrain and steep chutes make for some of the wildest ski descents in the Sierra.  


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As the afternoon approaches, I make a last detour over to Lundy Lake.  At 7858 feet (2395 m) elevation, Lundy Lake is the gateway to the Hoover Wilderness Area in the High Sierras.  


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Today the popular fishing lake with 2.4 miles of shoreline and 100 surface acres lies covered with snow. The rainbow, brown, and brook trout will be there for another trip  


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Driving back along the Lundy Lake road the snow flocked pines create a picturesque view.  What a memorable ending to a day of winter photo-exploring.  Follow my blog and check back often to see where my next adventure begins.

 
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With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

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