Natural (Virtual) History tour of the Eastern Sierra

Mobius Arch. Natural rock arch. Eastern Sierra.

Our world is a world of wonder. Our big backyard is especially wonderful.
There are few places in the world where evidence of the natural history of a region is more obvious and interesting than in the Eastern Sierra. The forces that have shaped our world have produced an astonishing assortment of observable characteristics that give us insight into the creation of this part of our planet. These distinctive features present an opportunity to view, firsthand, the results of these forces. Aspects of nature that seem improbable and unexpected are wonderous and beautiful. Elements of geography and topography that appear inconsistent and disrupted have logical explanations. Everything here has happened for a reason and we are witness to the wonder of nature.

Bishop by the Water

Payahǖǖnadǖ. “Place of flowing water.” (Numic)

The place of flowing water is the Owens Valley, as it is now more commonly known. It was once a wet, flood plain where water flowed into a large lake at the southern end of the valley. The Owens River still weaves its way through this beautiful valley and water, once again, flows all the way to the lakebed and into large ponds that are home to a remarkable variety of resident and migratory birds.

The Slim Princess

Train at Laws Railroad Museum. Bishop. CA.

The railroad in the Owens Valley was more than just a stretch of the imagination. It was a vision inspired by tales of rich strikes in the mines of California, when a lull in mining activity was settling on the Comstock and in Virginia City, Nevada.

“Let us have a railroad from Carson City to Colorado,” wrote a journalist in a Nevada newspaper in 1871.

Several surveys were made by the Virginia & Truckee (V&T) Railway Company by the late 1870s to run a line south from Carson City. By 1880 a line was laid as far as Bodie and on May 10, 1880 the Carson & Colorado (C&C) Railroad Company was incorporated.

Much speculation was made about an intended final destination in southern California, but nothing was made official until March 25, 1882 when the company announced it would build over Montgomery Pass, into the Owens Valley and toward Mojave.

4 Fabulous Photography Features near Bishop, CA.

Photography is a passion for many in the Eastern Sierra.
For those who live here or visit regularly photography is often a daily activity. Sometimes it’s just a momentary opportunity to snap a quick image. Other times it’s a commitment to time and place to capture a specific scene.
First time visitors are, almost without fail, thoroughly awestruck by the grandeur of this landscape. Cameras and smartphones are ubiquitous in the hands of tourists and frequently pointed toward the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It stands to reason then that this beautiful region is one of the most photographed in California.