Photograph of the day: Eastern Escarpment. Sierra Nevada, California. October 10, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
The eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada rises from desert hills to rugged aretes lit by dawn sun
Depending on how you approach the range, the Sierra Nevada presents two quite different aspects to the visitor. For many decades, as a long time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I was only familiar with one of them. I always came to the range from the west, on long drives over coastal mountains and then across the Great Central Valley. As I approached the east side of the Valley I would encounter the low hills, at first almost imperceptible, that humbly mark the beginning of this might range. Because it tilts upward from the west, the western slopes are overall very gradual. Rising through these first low hills, the grass and oak covered landscape raises over a distance of many miles, and it is quite a while before the range starts to feel like “the mountains,” and many hours before the visitor arrives in the high alpine zone of rugged granite peaks. Even here, to the west of the crest there are plenty of gentle valleys and meadows.
The east side is a radically different world, as I finally began to understand two or three decades ago. The eastern base of the range is an arid near-desert place, made more so by Los Angeles’ historic draining of east side waters that once irrigated now-dry places and once filled today’s dusty playas with shallow lakes. The Sierra rises abruptly from this lower landscape... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/10/19/eastern-escarpment)