Posted by: GeekHiker | July 24, 2007

Bodie & The Eastern Sierras

Agh, spent too long editing pictures to cover the full trip – here’s a little something just to get started.  Pictures too!

The trip that made me so darn tired the other day was a group trip to Bodie and the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.  It’s an area that I hadn’t been to in years, and naturally enough, it was one of those trips that was just enough to whet my appetite for more.

The west side of the Sierra Nevada mountains is a gradual series of foothills leading slowly upwards, traveling east, into the mountains.  This is because the mountain chain, which is essentially one large piece of eroded uplifted granite, is tilted at an angle, like a wedge.

The eastern side of the mountains is the short side of that wedge, falling off suddenly and steeply, thousands of feet in only a few miles.

What makes this area even more fascinating is that it lies in the rain shadow of the mountains.  The Sierra Nevada stops, essentially, all of the storms that come in off the Pacific Ocean, forcing them to drop most of their moisture as snow (which California then uses as a giant reservoir the rest of the year).  The eastern Sierras get some of that rain, but not much, and going east from this area is the start of the Great Basin desert.

Highway 395 traces this border area between the two extremes.  Driving northward, the great mountains loom to your left.  On the right are dry lakes and treeless hills, leading out towards areas like Death Valley.  Seeing the sudden shift between the two in a single glance is, quite simply, startling.  I only wish these photos could do it justice.

Eastern Sierra Nevada 1

Looking west across an oak strewn valley to the mountains.

Eastern Sierra Nevada 2 

Driving south.  Sierra Nevada mountains on the right, Owens Dry Lake and the start of the Great Basin on the left.

And it was into this land of beauty and stark contrast into which we traveled.




  1. Your travels and description thereof sound lovely!

  2. a life uncommon – thank you! And thank you for stopping by, I hope you’ll continue to visit!

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