Alabama Hills Base Camp

Breaking out of our regular routine, Carol and I decided to head to the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierras for Memorial Day weekend. The plan was to base-camp in the rock hills, and wander and explore the area. Even though it was Memorial weekend, we were still able to hunker in and hide from the tourists.

We arrived at our camp site about an hour before sunset, and were rewarded with views of some pretty impressive rocks. Hundreds of old cowboy movies were made in the area with the likes of John Wayne, Gene Audry, Clayton Moore and Hopalong Cassidy.
We arrived at our camp site about an hour before sunset, and were rewarded with views of some pretty impressive rocks. Hundreds of old cowboy movies were made in the area with the likes of John Wayne, Gene Audry, Clayton Moore and Hopalong Cassidy.
Was it just us, or did the rock at our camp look like the Simpson's characters Kang and Kodos?
Was it just us, or did the rock at our camp look like the Simpson’s characters Kang and/or Kodos?
The Inyo Mountains framed by the Alabama Hills.
The Inyo Mountains framed by the Alabama Hills.
Our dispersed camp site was surrounded by rocks of all sizes - perfect if you're into bouldering or if you're a kid.
Our dispersed camp site was surrounded by rocks of all sizes – perfect if you’re into bouldering or if you’re a kid.
Lubken Canyon Road passing through pastureland on our way to Horseshoe Meadows and the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead.
Lubken Canyon Road passing through pastureland on our way to Horseshoe Meadows and the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead.
On the Cottonwood Lakes Trail, we passed from the Golden Trout Wilderness into the John Muir Wilderness - the transition was relatively painless. A little farther down the trail, we saw the Golden Trout camp - a group of old houses which are reportedly home to a family of bears. Note the funny leg.
On the Cottonwood Lakes Trail, we passed from the Golden Trout Wilderness into the John Muir Wilderness – the transition was relatively painless. A little farther down the trail, we saw the Golden Trout camp – a group of old houses which are reportedly home to a family of bears. Note the funny leg.
By the way, mountain bikes are not welcome in wilderness areas, but horses are. The issue appears to be the mountain bike's inability to defecate on the trail and create deep gouges.
By the way, mountain bikes are not welcome in wilderness areas, but horses are. The issue appears to be the mountain bike’s inability to defecate on the trail and create deep gouges.
As we approached Cirque Peak and Cottonwood Lakes (there's six Cottonwood Lakes), the trail flattened out at around 11,100'. Temps were chilly - we received some snow flurries.
As we approached Cirque Peak and Cottonwood Lakes (there’s six Cottonwood Lakes), the trail flattened out at around 11,100′. Temps were chilly – we received some snow flurries.
Cirque Peak and Cottonwood Lake - this would be our turn-around point, 7.5 miles from the car.
Cirque Peak and Cottonwood Lake – this would be our turn-around point, 7.5 miles from the car.
From Cottonwood Lakes, we had a great view of Mt. Langley, 14,042', standing almost 3,000' above our picture-taking location. Langley is the southern-most of the 14ers.
From Cottonwood Lakes, we had a great view of Mt. Langley, 14,042′, standing almost 3,000′ above our picture-taking location. Langley is the southern-most of the 14ers.
The trees at timberline appeared to have had a rough life.
The trees at timberline appeared to have had a rough life.
Pausing to layer and/or unlayer.
Pausing to layer and/or unlayer.
We got to see some very cool weathered trees along the trail.
We got to see some very cool weathered trees along the trail.
Sunday morning sunrise in the Alabama Hills. That tall, weird-shaped rock? It's about 30' tall, thanks for asking.
Sunday morning sunrise in the Alabama Hills. That tall, weird-shaped rock? It’s about 30′ tall, thanks for asking.
And the view from within the toy hauler wasn't too bad either.
And the view from within the toy hauler wasn’t too bad either.
Among other things, on Sunday we drove up to Whitney Portal and had lunch. In the middle of the photo are the Alabama Hills - the town of Lone Pine is located in that green mass on the right. That's the Inyo Mountains on the east side of the Owens Valley.
Among other things, on Sunday we drove up to Whitney Portal and had lunch. In the middle of the photo are the Alabama Hills – the town of Lone Pine is located in that green mass on the right. That’s the Inyo Mountains on the east side of the Owens Valley.
Looking up at the granite walls above Whitney Portal.
Looking up at the granite walls above Whitney Portal.
Carol sat out the afternoon, and I wandered. My first stop was the Alabama-Mohawk mine where they removed gold from a vein 2 to 18 inches wide.
Carol sat out the afternoon, and I wandered. My first stop was the Alabama-Mohawk mine where they removed gold from a vein 2 to 18 inches wide. “Workings include underground openings comprised of a 326 foot adit, that connec ts with a shaft 130 feet from the portal, 54 feet below the collar. The shaft extends 56 feet below the adit level. A winze was sunk to a depth of 26 feet 222 feet from the adit portal, connecting with a stope from lower workings.”
For whatever reason, recent guy wires and a steel frame were added to the tower - arrested decay?
For whatever reason, recent guy wires and a steel frame were added to the tower – arrested decay?
An old shack on Moffat Ranch Road, overlooking Owens Valley.
An old shack on Moffat Ranch Road, overlooking Owens Valley.
One of our favorite Cocktail Rocks, overlooking the Eastern Sierras and the Alabama Hills (if you look closely, you can see the toy hauler).
One of our favorite Cocktail Rocks, overlooking the Eastern Sierras and the Alabama Hills (if you look closely, you can see the toy hauler).

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