Sunday, April 1, 2012

From lowest to highest in less than 100 miles

Mt Whitney from Lone Pine
One of Death Valley’s claims to fame is that it has the lowest altitude in the Western Hemisphere (the sort of claim you make when there is somewhere else in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres that are lower) being 282 feet below sea level. Amazingly, after a very short drive, one is confronted by a massive, snow capped range, dominated by 14,497 foot Mt Whitney - the highest point in the US outside of Alaska. This range was to be our playground for the next few days, not only because we had intended it that way, but also because our brand new car suddenly had a plethora of warning lights come on...Engine Warning, Brake system warning, anti-skid system warning, and finally a “limp home” indicator that suggested that, if we were lucky, we might make it to the next town. So limp home we did, into Bishop, a beautiful little town beneath the ranges where the Ford dealer diagnosed various things that accounted for all the flashing lights, some minor and easily fixed, and others less minor that required parts to be shipped in. So we left it (hmmm, I think it needs a name....any suggestions out there??) with it’s front right wheel temporarily amputated and found a hotel, a rental car, and the best bakery in Central California and concluded that there were worse places in the world to be stuck (there was even decent coffee to be had!)

Oops - this wasn't meant to happen

Maybe we should have gone for something like this instead?
Took the rental car through the Alabama Hills (I know, we are nowhere near Alabama) in search of an arch through which one could view Mt Whitney. We found such an arch, which, 
with some athleticism enabled the requisite photo to be taken, only to find subsequently that we had the wrong arch. Well, we quite liked ours and so thumbed our noses at the one that everyone else took their photo through. Sometimes it’s important to be a bit different.

Tackling the snow - by road and foot
Reunited with our car, we took to the backroads once again in search of a place to call home for the night and found a free campsite at the foot of snow-covered ranges and under brilliant stars once again. Next morning, awoke to a stunning view and embarked on a bike ride before heading off along snow-covered trials which took us further into the mountains towards Lake Sabrina where we hiked to the the magical ice covered lake with not another soul to be seen.

Iced-over Lake Sabrina

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