Carson City, Nevada – Arches, cake, and tufa

The way from Death Valley westward consists of endless slopes and gradients and is a nice conclusion (or beginning) of the park visit. In the next town Lone Pine is a well-equipped visitor center to stock up on information about eastern California or Death Valley. For example, it is important to know where the most inexpensive gas stations are – California is expensive. Provided with directions we proceed into the Alabama Hills beyond town. The soft-shaped round hills from beige-grey granite lay at the foot of the ice-cold massive snow-covered Sierra Nevada. Water, ice, and wind created caverns or arches in many rocks. The best-known one is Whitney Portal Arch, because you can see Mt. Whitney, contiguous Unites States’ highest peak through its opening. Most of the arches are accessible with short hikes from the Movie Road that’s called due to the many western movies that were shot there.

We visit a well-known Dutch bakery, Erick Schat’s Bakkery, in Bishop, furnished in the style of the 30s. We buy cake and all natural bread that’s even more inexpensive than in the supermarket. We stop at Mono Lake East of Yosemite National Parks at sunset when the snow-covered Sierra, the odd tufa stone structure, and the pink-coloured sunset-sky mirror in the quiet lake water. Mono Lake is one of the few remnants of the huge lake that once covered east California. Its water is 2.5 times saltier than sea water. There are no fishes, just other strange creatures like alkali flies and brine shrimps. Waterfowls seem to have difficulties to keep their web-feet down due to the buoyancy. The tuff spires are former underwater springs whose mineral-rich water crystallized and deposited. Just after the water level had sunken they were revealed.

Actually we have planned for the trip from Death Valley to Reno three to four days, since there is a lot to see in the area. Unfortunately nearly all of the destinations aren’t accessible, the side roads of hwy # 395 are closed for the winter. Instead, we take our heels, rattle along, and cross the state border to Nevada until we reach Carson City close to Reno.

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