Friday, November 18, 2011

Lone Pine, California, Part I

Even if you’ve never been to the small town of Lone Pine, you’ve seen the Alabama Hills & Sierrasarea in movies and on television.  From the old classics like “Gunga Din” and “Charge of the Light Brigade”, television shows like “The Lone Ranger” and “The Roy Rogers Show”, up to more recent movies such as “Joe Kidd” and “Tremors”, this area has been a popular filming location due to it’s incredible scenery.  With Mount Whitney, the lower 48’s tallest mountain, and the rock formations of the Alabama Hills, it’s a wonderland of majestic mountains and magical rock formations.    We spent a week here, and could have spent even more time exploring the hills and learning the history of the area.
Our first morning we woke up to a coating of fresh snow on Mount Whitney,  the perfect start to a day of exploring.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a better view from our motorhome. (don’t forget to click on the picture for a larger view)
RV Park View of MountainsWe took the road up to Whitney Portal, a climb well into the mountains and high above the valley.  It was cold at the parking area, and a short hike took us to a frozen stream, transformed into a crystal waterfall.  Along the road back down, there were great views of the Owens Valley, once a fertile area but now desert due to the water needs of Los Angeles.
Road View of Mt Whitney Frozen Waterfall
Owens Valley View
Each Day, as we drove through the area, the mountains changed as weather moved through.  Looking at the mountains, it seems that sometimes you’re looking at a painting on the horizon.  But words can’t describe the beauty -  perhaps these images will help:
Sierra View2
Sierra View
Sierra View3
Sierra Canyon View
There’s also a lot of interesting history in the area.  We visited Manzanar National Historic Site, like Heart Mountain (which we visited earlier this year), a former relocation camp for Japanese during WWII.  Like Heart Mountain, the visitor center and museum were very informative in telling the story of how our government imprisoned it’s own citizens, but unlike Heart Mountain where all of the original structures were removed, here some remain.  Entering the site, you pass by the same guard shacks that the internees passed in 1942.  The visitor center is housed in the same auditorium that was built in 1944 by the camp population.  It was sold and moved after the camp closed, but was located, moved back to the site, and renovated to become today’s main visitor’s site.  An auto route travels through the camp where remains of old structures are visible, and passes by the cemetery,  a poignant reminder of the people who lived and died here.
Manzanar Visitor Center
Manzanar Visitor Center2
Manzanar Cemetary
We’ve got more to share with you on our visit to Lone Pine, so check back soon to see Part II!


  1. You're in one of our favorite parts of the country - we'd never run out of things to do around Lone Pine and hwy 395 up the east side of the Sierra. BTW, I believe the "rock scene" from The Long, Long Trailer (Lucille Ball) was filmed on Whitney Portal Road.

    Thanks for showcasing the area. I look forward to Part II.

  2. I never tire of reading posts and seeing pictures of this gorgeous area. The Owens Valley is one of my favorite places on earth. Thanks for sharing.