Monday, October 3, 2016

Alabama Hills (Inyo National Forest) - 9/22/16

Whitney Portal Arch

Whitney Portal Arch & Mt. Whitney

Mobius Arch & Alabama Hills

Bridge Out
 The Alabama Hills, named after a confederate warship, consist of 30,000 acres of rounded granite rocks. Over 400 movies have been made using this natural setting as a backdrop. A useful access point to the hills and the arches rising within is the Whitney Portal Road that begins in Lone Pine, California. The first stop of five club members was 5.25 miles up the Whitney Portal Road where we turned to the right and parked in a small dirt parking area.

Hiking to Whitney Portal Arch
 Previous to our hike, there was a bridge spanning the rushing stream in the wash below the trailhead. There had been a recent fire that burned the bridge and the trees of the wash.

Climbing Ravine to Arch
 We found our way across the stream on the slippery rocks and hiked up the trail that followed out from the absent bridge.

Whitney Portal Arch Approach

Mt. Whitney from Arch Area
 At a point where we could look up to our right and see a large arch in the hills, we left the trail and bushwhacked until we started seeing cairns marking a route to the Whitney Portal Arch. This route took us up through a ravine of dirt and boulders. At the top, we found that a rumored aluminum ladder was gone. Therefore, access to the arch where we could get a photo of Mt. Whitney through its opening was denied. The flat (seen sideways) arch is, nevertheless, very impressive.

Mustache Arch
 As we left to hike down, we saw Mustache Arch, seen above, up on the hill across from Whitney Portal Arch.

Crossing the Rushing Stream
 We crossed the rushing stream one more time and returned to the cars. Next, we had to wait for construction crews and a pilot car to allow us back down the road to the Movie Road junction.

Starting Out the Arch Trail

Heart Arch from Trailhead
 We rode out Movie Road and parked in a circled parking area on the left side. We saw Heart Arch from the trailhead and dropped down through the beautiful desert and rocks. We inspected Heart Arch then hiked around to see Mobius Arch. Mobius Arch is very accessible and Mt. Whitney can be seen easily through its opening.

Arch Trail
 Several photos later, we searched for the nearby Lathe Arch. Expecting a larger arch, we almost couldn't find it!

Viewing Heart Arch from Back
 Lathe Arch is long but not very far off the ground. A few more photos were taken.The afternoon sun on the nearby mountains was stark but we took photos anyway.

Alabama Hills to the Sierras

Hiking to Mobius Arch
 We returned to the cars and continued around Movie Road. The Eye of Alabama was spied before we reached the small two car pullout on the right side of the road. We hiked up the hill then turned to the right to cross over to the arch. Most of us were satisfied to see the arch from below. But, one hiker needed to climb up to the arch to get a nice photo of the arch from behind.

Finding Angles at Mobius Arch
 After returning to the cars, we left the area. There are multiple arches in the Alabama Hills but a difficult hike was planned for the next day and the sun was getting hot.

Mobius Arch
 Morning is an excellent time for great photos from the Alabama Hills.

Lathe Arch

Leaving Lathe Arch
 Note: Construction on the Whitney Portal Road has been ongoing throughout the summer of 2016. There have been long wait times. But, at this late date, it appears that the work is almost finished. The crews are not working on the weekends (Saturday and Sundays) so this is a good time to head on up the mountain before the first snow.

Whitney Portal Arch: 1.3 miles / 400' gain
Arch Trail (as we did it): 1 mile / 200' gain
Eye of Alabama: 0.25 mile / 200' gain

Eye of Alabama

Eye of Alabama Wide Shot

Alabama Hills

No comments: