Spring Time in Saline Valley, April 2010
I spent five days camping in the Saline Valley in April 2010. Lows were in the 40s, the highs were in the eighties. The sky was mostly cloudless. The wind was fairly calm until the last two nights.
I arrived a day after the other campers and set up my tent, canopy, and kitchen.
The camp is at an elevation of 1,490 feet.
Non-native palms have been planted at Palm Spring. The oldest palms are a bit over 25 years old.
A nearby volcanic cinder cone has been marked with a peace sign for over a quarter of a century.
The palms that the spring was named for are the ones on the right.
The most prominent peaks of the Inyo Range are New York Butte (10,686 feet), Mount Inyo (10,975 feet), and Keynot Peak (11,106 feet).
A large rock wind break has been built on the side of the fire pit facing the prevailing wind.
Ravens are the most common flyers in the area.
The cinder cone is a relatively young geologic feature of the area.
Looking up the Eureka-Sailne Corridor toward Steele Pass.
A volcanic basalt lavea flow was extruded from the Saline Range.
The mountains to the east are nearly devoid of vegetation. The tallest peak in the range, at 8,674 feet tall, is called Dry Mountain.
There are a few examples of rock art around the camp.
The Nelson Range can be seen across the valley on a clear afternoon.
The mountains south of camp are so young that headward erosion has not yet reached the top of the slope.
Two days after my arrival, a couple of campers departed for home. We escorted them out of the valley through the North Pass to Big Pine.
McElvoy Canyon is home to a pleasant fern grotto fed by springs.
The junction with Warm Spring Road.
The Saline Valley Byway leads to Willow Creek and the North Pass.
Willow Creek is an old mining facility. It was the home of Turtle Jim and his Burros.
Willow Creek has carved a deep ravine.
A long, straight grade leads to the North Pass.
Marble Canyon was home to several gold mines. The mines tapped placer deposits in the accumulated river sediment. DeLornme Topo USA identifies this part of the canyon as Jackass Canyon. Higher up it is labeled Opal Canyon.
The head frame behind the cabin housed a winch for access to a gold mine shaft.
This cabin is at an elevation of about 6,000 feet.
In March 1988, this cabin was decorated with a string of Christmas lights.
The cabin has an oil drum converted in to a wood burning stove.
Panoramic view of the Switchbacks lead up from Marble Canyon to the North Pass.
We had lunch at the Country Kitchen Restaurant in Big Pine. Then we fueled up and got ice for the return trip into the valley.
The sign marking the entrance to the Saline Valley Road has seen better days.
It's a race to see if we can beat the shadow of the Inyo Mountains to camp.
High winds blew through the valley on Thursday night, bringing in dusty air from the Owens Valley that obscured the view of the distant mountains.
360-degree panorama of Palm Spring Camp.
The American Automobile Association sent a mapping unit through camp and then on up the Eureka Corridor to Steele Pass.
The wind blew again on Friday night, but it came from a different direction. The wind cleared out a lot of the dusty air, so visibility was a little better as we departed from the valley on Saturday.
The Panamint Valley was still filled with dusty haze.
Exiting the South Pass.
Cruising across Lee Flat.
We stopped for a late lunch at the Ranch House Cafe in Olancha.
Page 1: Driving into the valley
Airplanes in the Wild
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Holiday Mine, Inyo Mountains
Ulida Flat from Hunter Mountain
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