Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Weekend Trip: U.S. Highway 395 In Autumn, Part 1: Lone Pine, June Lake Loop & Mono Canyon

Sierra Nevada Range Behind Hill - Lone Pine, California
A couple weekends ago my wife, three kids and I loaded up the car for an epic weekend road trip. We traversed California Highway 58 to California Highway 14 and then to U.S. Highway 395 for a scenic tour of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains clothed in autumn colors. We made stops in places like Lone Pine, Bishop, and Mammoth Lakes and visited beautiful sights such as Yosemite National Park, June Lake and Convict Lake.

We got an early start, eating breakfast in the car. The first two hours were kind of boring as we traversed the lonely Mojave Desert. We tried to keep stops to a minimum because the goal for this day was to hike Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, and there wasn't much wiggle room in the schedule. 

Lone Pine

The first stop of the day was Lone Pine. Based on the name you might think that this quaint town is covered with evergreen trees, but then you realize what the "lone" means. This was a quick stop to stretch our legs and so forth, so we didn't stay long.

The town looked pretty interesting. There was a film festival of sorts going on (a bunch of classic westerns had been filmed in the area). I saw John Wayne in the crowd. There was also a rodeo.

I was able to capture a few photographs, but we needed to keep moving. I would like to have stayed longer. Oh, well. Maybe on the way back.
Monochrome Mountain - Lone Pine, California
Mountain & Rocky Hill - Lone Pine, California
Old Mountain Photograph - Lone Pine, California

June Lake Loop

We had lunch in Bishop, but otherwise just passed through. A quick detour off of the highway north of Bishop was the June Lake Loop. For fall colors this is a must see!

The road passes by four lakes: June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake. Of the four Grant Lake is the largest but the least scenic. The other lakes offer patches of brilliant autumn colors that can be somewhat easy to access for photography.

The loop only slowed us down about 45 minutes, so it was worth the jaunt even though we were on a tight schedule. Soon we were back on U.S. Highway 395 northbound.
A Lovely Fall Day - June Lake, California
An Orange Tree - June Lake, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4.
Pops of Fall Color - Silver Lake, California
Silver Lake - Silver Lake, California

Vintage Silver Lake - Silver Lake, California
Mono Canyon

At Lee Vining we turned west onto California Highway 120. This road travels through Mono Canyon up through Tioga Pass and into Yosemite National Park. The canyon offers large vistas and the walls had yellow and orange trees scattered among the rocks and pines. Unfortunately there are not many spots to stop and take it in.

We did find one dirt pullout. I jumped out of the car while everyone else stayed inside for safety. The wind was blowing something fierce! I grabbed some fall foliage photographs, and then we headed back on the highway towards Tuolumne Meadows.

Speaking of photography, all of the images in Part 1 were captured using a Canon PowerShot N. Yes, a cheap point-and-shoot. Photographic Vision is always more important than gear.
Autumn Yellow - Mono Canyon, California
Patch of Yellow - Mono Canyon, California
Pine Tree Grove - Mono Canyon, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4.
Autumn Colors In Mono Canyon - Mono Canyon, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4.
Green And Yellow Trees - Mono Canyon, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4. Take a look at my Impressions series.
Some Fall Colors - Mono Canyon, California
Monochrome Vista - Mono Canyon, California

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