Monday, May 4, 2015

Alabama Hills, California

The Alabama Hills are a landscape photographer’s paradise; especially if you like rocks.  Millions of rocks.  The hills are located west of Lone Pine, California at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Their brown color stands out strongly from the eastern Sierras.
The hills are a relatively barren place with large treeless flats between the huge piles of rocks, so a single tree really stands out.
In this photo, a cottonwood tree survives in the rocks with Lone Pine Peak in the left background.  The more distant, jagged peak directly behind the tree is Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet elevation.

The Alabama Hills were named by Confederate sympathizers after the warship CSS Alabama during the Civil War.

The rocks are the same age as the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains, but were shaped by different chemical weathering caused by percolating water while the rocks were buried.

The Alabama Hills have been popular for filming movies, TV shows and commercials for decades, including Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger, Gunga Din, Tremors, Iron Man and dozens more.

I love to search for arches and “windows” at Alabama Hills.  There must be thousands of them since I have seen dozens in the relatively small area I have explored.  On this trip my favorite was Hitching Post Arch, but the most famous is Mobius Arch, which you can see here from a previous visit:
It is easy to imagine all sorts of creatures in the odd shapes of the rocks and windows.

Lone Pine is a good place to get information about the Alabama Hills, including maps to movie locations and arches, but it is fun to find an interesting pile of rocks and just explore on your own.

These photos are copyrighted and cannot be used for any purpose without my permission.

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