End of Autumn

•November 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Thanksgiving here on the Eastside always seems to signify, to me, the last days of fall. Even if we have been skiing for a month, the waning leaves still cling to the landscape like patches of autumn light. This fall was noteworthy here in the Sierra due to it’s intensity and length.

It seems that sometime in late September, or early October of any given year, we are struck by the onset of vibrant color, and every year we wonder if it isn’t somehow more showy than the year before. But this year really did seem different with the colors spreading in a time laps across the range in a sequence lasting well over a month.

It was a fine fall to be home, shooting in the Range of Light.


Journey to center of Sierra Nevada Wilderness

•September 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I recently came across a USGS map showing DNR or “distance to nearest road”. As populous as California is, we place 4th behind Wyoming, Montana and Utah (Alaska never counts in superlatives!).  Though only thirteen air miles from a road, the California location is a three day walk from our home in the eastern Sierra.

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Sierra Columbine

•August 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Great wildflower year here in the Sierra. Recently I’ve been working Eastside canyons in particular to hunt down sierra Columbines. The Sierra Nevada have two prominent Columbines; the Crimson columbine (Aquilegia formosa) and the Alpine or Sierra Columbine (Aquilegia pubescens). The Crimson is the common red columbine seen at lower elevations. The latter has larger, all cream to yellow flowers with longer, more delicate spurs. Flowers are erect, not nodding, and the form is similar to the Colorado columbine (Aquilegia coerulea). The Sierra Columbine is native to the central Sierra Nevada, at middle to high elevations. When the Sierra and Crimson grow in close proximity, the result can show in a rainbow of color morphs.

Bristlecone Pine

•June 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have always been fascinated with the Bristlecone Pine, as much for it’s native habitat as that of it’s “oldest tree” status. For me, the high ranges of the Great Basin are an aesthetic and austere blend of desert and alpine. Combined with a geologic landscape of limestone, these mountains are apparently ideal for trees, specificly Bristlecone, to last a long time.

The oldest living tree known is a bristlecone pine nicknamed Methuselah.  However, this patriarchic status was not always the case. The age of Methuselah was measured by core samples in 1957 to be 4,789 years old, but shortly there after another tree was found to be much older.

In 1964, in the Snake Range of eastern Nevada, a student of the University of North Carolina was taking core samples of bristlecones. He discovered that a tree known as “Prometheus” in a cirque below Wheeler Peak was over 4,000 years old. When his coring tool broke trying to get an accurate age,  the U.S. Forest service granted permission to cut down “Prometheus”. 4,844 rings were counted on a cross-section of the tree, making “Prometheus” at least 4,844 years old, the oldest non-clonal living thing known to man.

Spring travels

•June 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We had a good spring shoot this year, following wildflower blooms from our home in the eastern Sierra to Carrizo Plain, northern Arizona and the Mojave. Blooms were outstanding, but late due to the wests cold spring.

Walk the Sky receives IPPY Gold

•May 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

Our book, Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail has received the prestigious IPPY Gold medal for West-Pacific – Best Regional Non-Fiction. We are very proud and would like to thank Jane Freeburg at Companion Press as well as writer Mark Schlenz.

Spring Wildflowers

•March 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

While we have had an abundance of precip here in the last several months, flowers have been slow to respond.  Last week, Death Valley was very green, but not really all that much in bloom. This week Scalebud or Desert Dandelion (I’m not sure which) are blooming profusely along sections of the Owens Valley. Perhaps in a week or two things will really be happening.

In the meantime I would like to share a collection of desert wildflower images of past years.