Wednesday, November 28, 2012
What would you choose? Where would you want to be, what would you want to do?
If I was ever given the choice, I suspect my final day would be something like the one I've been describing for the last four posts in the "Abandoned Lands" series. I would want to see as much of the most beautiful corners of the world as I could, and the landscape encompassed by Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park in east-central Utah just about fits the bill.
fiery sunrise, it progressed to a hike to see the largest arch in the world, and a look at some wonderful arches in the Windows Section of of the park to some incredible pictographs and petroglyphs in Nine-Mile Canyon (the pictures at this link are from an earlier trip), and some sweeping vistas at Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point. It was a long day, but there was one more act.
Most of the students elected to watch the sunset from a perch near Delicate Arch, but I'd done that a few times. Plus, the camp cook crew needed a ride back to the campsite, so I drove them up to the end of the road at Devils Garden Campground. And then I took off on a new trail I had never followed before. It was a short trail out to Broken Arch.
fiery sunrise, included a hike to see the largest arch in the world, and added a tour of an Indiana Jones movie set ("that cross belongs in a museum!"), and it was barely past noon...
Thursday, November 22, 2012
I have lots of things to be thankful for. The land I live on is one of them.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
largest colony of Townsend's big-eared bats between the Bay Area and Mexico (click on the link for closure information). There is occasionally a flooding hazard as well. The main closure is between May and July when the young bats are being born and cared for. The lower cave is open for much of the rest of year, but one should check before visiting.
I don't know of a great many other talus caves. When I was quite young I remember exploring the "Indian Caves" on the north side of Yosemite Valley, but their existence is no longer emphasized by the park service (I suspect that animal life in the cave was being severely impacted by visitation and garbage strewing). I also spent some time exploring Elsie's Cave in the Big Bear Lake area of Southern California. Beyond that, zilch. Does anyone have some stories of interesting talus caves in your region?
our explorations of the San Andreas and Calaveras faults in the Hollister region of the Coast Ranges, we headed south on Highway 25 to Pinnacles National Monument. Pinnacles is one of our unheralded gems, a beautiful landscape with an unusual origin.
The park preserves the remains of five rhyolitic cones that once may have towered 8,000 feet high. Erosion has attacked the volcanic rocks with a vengeance, widening cracks and fissures to form the pinnacles for which the park is named. The mountain ridges are fairly arid, covered mainly with shrubs and Gray Pines, but deep in the canyons and gorges, pockets of cool moist air and permanent springs allow much more lush vegetation to thrive.
No one realized it in 1908, but Pinnacles preserves one of the more exciting bits of geology in the state of California. By 1977, geologists had realized that Pinnacles was only half of the original volcano, and that the other half was on the far side of the San Andreas fault...some 195 miles away in southern California near Lancaster in the Mojave Desert. Down south, the rocks are called the Neenach Volcanics. Such huge lateral offsets provided overwhelming evidence confirming the theory of plate tectonics (the San Andreas fault is a transform-style plate boundary).
|The small Bear Gulch Reservoir was constructed by the CCC during the Great Depression. It is maintained as wildlife habitat today (especially for the amphibians, which have suffered disastrous declines in recent years).
|And yes, I realized I was standing next to poison oak (lower left side of the photo above).
Sunday, November 18, 2012
|The side of the porch has shifted to the right, away from the steps
DeRose Winery, another famous fault locality. The winery was built directly on the trace of the fault, and has been destroyed twice by creep along the San Andreas.
The owners have always been kind to our students, allowing us to sneak through the wine-tasting event to have a look at the interior walls, which have been offset by several feet (below).
this is last year's version).
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
here, and here.