Saturday, May 4, 2013

Independence CA

The day dawned cloudy and cool.  There's an on shore push in the works.  It's very good for the area north of LA which has been on fire as of late.  The footage on TV has just been horrendous.  
We drove up to Independence to go to the Inyo County Museum.   This is not the museum, it's the county courthouse.  Is it not lovely?

The museum is pretty small.  It has a section dedicated to Manzanar, and a section dedicated to the depredations visited upon Owens Valley by Los Angeles.  Prior to the theft of the water in this valley, there was ranching, fruit growing and vegetable gardening.  William Mulholland orchestrated the buying of land and its associated water rights for LA.  Water wars broke out, but the farmers and ranchers lost.  The snow melt and the contents of Owens Lake were siphoned off via aquaducts and sent southward.  Eventually the water table dropped and there was no water left for anything but desert vegetation.  It's unfortunate, the valley is made of decomposed volcanic materials, and with the addition of water is very productive agricultural land.  Read the wikipedia on Mulholland.  He was a very bad man.

The museum has quite a bit on Norman Clyde.  He was an amazing climber.  Look carefully at this picture.  This guy is rappelling with a rope dragged through his crotch and over his shoulder.  There are no gloves, no harness no nothing!

Look at where they went.

Behind the museum there are several cholla.  They are all in bloom.

There are many rusting relics from the past.  This is a grain harvester.

There are old buildings.

A reconstructed street.

So, Independence is this really tiny wide spot in the road.  They don't even have a grocery store, it went under.  And yet, there is a French restaurant.

I like this photo of the sun breaking through the clouds.

While walking briskly through Independence, we noticed a sign for Onion Valley.  With a name like that, you have to go see, right?  It's an amazing drive.  It goes from 3,900 feet in the city to 9,000 feet at the top.

This is the top.  It's a flat area with a campground.

This is a marshy area, it's full of streams and trout.

The road is amazing.  The switchbacks are unbelievable.  The terrain around here is fantastic.
In other news, the city of LA has been filing lawsuits against every federal agency they can think of to try to get out from under the requirement to provide dust mitigation for Owens Lake.  The judge ruled today on their suit.  They lost.  They caused the dust problem and they have to fix it. 


  1. Wonderful museum. I can't stand to watch climbers today with all the proper equipment. I can't imagine how totally insane those men were back then. What were they thinking...oh, they weren't!

    Love the cloud photo!

  2. Love that alpine meadow at the top of the road! I'm hoping to see some alpine meadows in CO this summer.