Morning in the Piper
The Piper Mountain Wilderness is a medium-small wilderness area happily located within a couple miles of my house. Straddling a branching spur on the Inyo Mountains, it encompasses the entire divide between Deep Springs and Eureka Valleys, as well as a substantial stretch of Eureka Valley’s northern floor. It contains a nice swath of local geology, from Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian sedimentary layers to Cenozoic basalt, but the lion’s share of its rock is Mesozoic granite plutons, which form a wonderland of boulder-studded ridges reminiscent of the Alabama Hills or Joshua Tree, though at higher elevations.
The many nooks and crannies, minor summits and stone labyrinths of the Piper ought to provide me with years of short explorations. But the views from the area’s high points are easy and spectacular goals for a morning close to home. Across the expanse of Deep Springs Valley the Eastern Sierra preside, while to the south is the deep drop and vast, desert expanse of Eureka, with the Last Chance Range looming above.