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While the name Alabama Hills probably doesn’t register with the average person, the names of Western movies made here would, hundreds from the 1920s-60s. My first visit to the Alabama Hills was a major bust. When we arrived at the aptly named Movie Flat Road, we were greeted by a soldier standing on top of a Humvee. He told us the Army was using the entire area to make training films. Apparently the US Army considered the region a reasonable facsimile of Afghanistan. The next year, while planning our trip, I made certain the area would be open.
Probably the best known feature here is Mobius Arch, although there are several others nearby. After shooting Mt Whitney through the arch like hundreds before me, I turned around looking for other opportunities. I quickly saw that the sky was lighting up in dramatic fashion over the Inyo Mountains to the east. Finding some interesting foreground boulders, I settled in to capture a series of frames as the sunrise progressed. Perhaps it just luck, but I experienced impressive sunrises on more than half of the days I was in the eastern Sierra.
Lone Pine is a small town with only a couple of motels, usually full in season, but there are also a couple of campgrounds nearby. About 50 miles north of Lone Pine is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest which should not be missed. You can include a day or two at the Alabama Hills with either or both Death Valley NP and the eastern Sierra.
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