Alabama Hills, CA redux - Day Two - Wednesday, 3/27/13

We were ready for our second day here in the Alabama Hills.  Our morning low temp was 48 degrees, and we always like to wait till the temp rises to 50 before we go outside to play!  

Hiking shoes and long pants were the rule today and, tho a west wind blew, we needed Cactus Juice applied around the ears and face to ward off pesky gnats.  Stuff really works.  You wouldn't think gnats would be such a problem at 5,000' in high desert, but they were.

Good Morning! - colorful sunrise over the Inyo Mountains east of us.

We weren't the only ones Out and About this morning!  We think the pilot must have been having fun.

Please, oh please, I give up, don't let it fall.

This is an actual (open) cave entrance, with two chimney holes, in a weird lava flow formation.

Movie Flats.  If you can't decipher this, the sign reads:  Since 1920, hundreds of movies and TV episodes, including Gunga Din, How the West was Won, Khyber Rifles, Bengal Lancers and High Sierra, along with the Lone Ranger and Bonanza, with such stars as Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Glenn Ford, Humphrey Bogart, and John Wayne, have been filmed in these rugged Alabama Hills with their majestic Sierra Nevada background.

The arrow points to lavender-shirted me, taken by...

...orange-shirted Jimmy opposite.  The camera did not have wings; I walked across to fetch and deliver.  You might see us better in the above pictures if you enlarge them.  Gives quite a size perspective.

The area has a lot of arches and holes like these.  This particular hole had a resident!  Based on fresh little poopers and bits of grass and hay, I guessed a kangaroo rat lived here.

Smartie looks Small!  Smartie is Dwarfed!

Wondering if I could get to the top.  Nixed the idea.

When we weren't climbing or hiking, we studied.  I noticed what looked like praying hands at top, left-center.  So easy to see "things" in the rock shapes.

This plaque is a couple of miles away from Movie Road.  I'll decipher for you.  Gunga Din Filmed Here.
In 1938, this hill area, among many others in these Alabama Hills, served as a stand-in for the Hill Country of Northern India when RKO made the classic adventure film, "Gunga Din," on location in Lone Pine.  Hundreds of horsemen raced across the hills, and elaborate sets were built here and nearby while cast and crew lived for weeks in a tent city off Movie Road.  Directed by George Stevens, the epic starred Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Victor McLaglen and Joan Fontaine, with Sam Jaffe as Gunga Din, the water boy who wanted so much to be a soldier.  The plaque was dedicated by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in 1992... 54 years later!

The camera got a work-out today!  These few photos serve as a sampling of more than 30,000 acres of fantastic rock shapes, formations and piles.  A landscape or a moonscape?  Just a great place to fritter away a few days or weeks.  We recommend!

Tomorrow we plan to continue our drive north on Hwy 395 to Reno, along the Eastern spine of the Sierra Nevada's, with snow-capped peaks all along the way as our backdrop.  One overnight in Reno, and then HOME.  We count this as another excellent three-month Out and About adventure!

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