Artery of Fall

Artery of Fall

Turning aspens follow the water in Nevada’s Table Mountain Wilderness.

A longer view from the same area:

Clear Creek View


Last Saturday was branding day at Deep Springs. The calves seemed a bit feistier than last year, which resulted in lots of noise, copious clouds of dust, and some great cowboy action shots. The ropers were three friends who ranch near Lone Pine, CA, while the Deep Springs students and staff provided the calf wrestling, vaccinating, ear tagging, branding and other unmentionable services.


Westgard Squall

Afternoon light shines through a storm squall over the hills of Deep Springs Valley and Westgard Pass.

Blue Desert Water

Blue Pond

Even in midday light, a blue desert pond and golden grasses are photogenic.

Jimbilnan Evening

Cleopatra Walls

Evening light on the volcanic ramparts of Cleopatra Wash, Jimbilnan Wilderness, southern Nevada near Lake Mead. The volcanics here represent one half of the Cleopatra-Hamblin Paleovolcano, a Miocene stratovolcano that was pulled into two halves by the tectonic stretching of the basin-and-range country. It’s other half is still to be found about ten miles to the west in Hamblin Mountain, separated from its formerly conjoined twin by a maze of sandstone ridges and valleys.

Jimbilnan Ridges

Rock Creek

Rock Lake Sunrise

Two more oldies from 2012: Sunrise in the Rock Creek drainage of Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness. Above is Rock Lake and Mt. Oso, below is looking down Rock Creek to the Grenadier Range.

Rock Creek Morning



Living in a relatively small valley like Deep Springs, one gets pretty familiar with all the surrounding landforms and their personalities. The southeast wall of the valley comprises much of the Piper Mountain Wilderness, a spur of the Inyo Mountains full of granite outcrops, folded paleozoic strata, small alluvial fans, fault scarps, pinyon-clad summits, vertical gullies, and steep canyons. The valley walls are often shy about revealing their shapes and textures in bright light, and fleeting glimpses late in the day usually just tantalize a photographer’s creative impulses. But in snow and storm is where they really shine!

Sadly, this is about as much snow as we ever saw this winter, and about as low as the snowline ever got. The entire American West is hurting for snowpack, but California’s drought this year is truly frightening, with only three of the state’s many watersheds even breaking double digit percentages of average snowpack. Living here in the desert is some consolation, at least, as everything here is more accustomed to the dryness and better able to ride out the tough times. But even the desert needs a little rain and winter, and winter simply never came this year. These few dustings of snow felt like nothing more than an apparition from the ghost of a dead season.

Snow Scarp Fans

Eureka Valley Lightshow

Eureka Valley Lightshow

A nice, if fleeting, sunset over Eureka Valley and the Last Chance Range, viewed from the Piper Mountain Wilderness.

Flowers at Ubehebe

Ubehebe Gold

Another Death Valley flower snapshot, this one from last Sunday at Ubehebe Crater: still some nice flowers, but fading. The best blooms we saw, though regrettably did not explore and photograph, were west of Emigrant Campground between 3,000-4,000. Above 4,500 or so, not much was happening yet besides a few paintbrushes. But places like the top of Towne Pass and up in the Panamints were looking very green, so they’d be well worth checking out as the blooms move uphill.

Meadow Valley Range

Meadow Valley and Yucca

The highpoint of Nevada’s Meadow Valley Range, viewed from the yucca-studded slopes of the adjacent Delamar Mountains.


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