zhenzhubay.com

珍珠湾全球网

 找回密码
 用户注册
查看: 55905|回复: 2

【谁主沉浮】在时间的长河里

[复制链接]

15

主题

87

好友

14万

积分

精华
3

发表于 2013-11-24 11:31:53 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 RidgeWalker 于 2013-12-19 13:54 编辑

在时间的长河里

1.

春假出游,顺理成章;想到去死亡谷是因为听说那里春天也会鲜花遍地。促使下决心的主要因素还是因为气温比较温和,夏天的死亡谷真能热死人哩。

想到帐篷露营,可实在没有空位,得提前6个月预约。讲究先来后到的营地也很不少,可一想开一整天车,跑四五百英里去冒这个险,似乎不太妥当。死亡谷那地方看上去好玩,住着就可怕些。四月份白天气温可达华氏80度,到了晚上就会降到冰点以下。为保险起见,在碧石埠(Bishop)订了个旅馆房间,碧石埠是加州东边的一个镇子,在死谷西北方向50英里处。

订了房间不等于就没有麻烦了。春回大地,太平洋沿岸的确红红绿绿春意盎然。内华达山脉的西坡绿连阡陌, 只是山顶依然白雪皑皑。一连串的山口如Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass, Ebbetts Pass 以及 Monitor Pass都还要过些日子才让机动车通行。那碧石埠眼睁睁的就在我们正东边,只是要去那儿先得往北开车五六十英里,翻越了大山再往南开,这可是个大弯。就这还沾了太浩湖(Lake Tahoe)的光。为了保证那湖边冬季的生意的旺盛,一大批推雪机昼夜不停地清扫80号州际高速,连同50号公路和88预备路也一冬春保持畅通。听到88号风景预备路能为这次远行提供最短的路程我是打心眼里高兴啊,这条路线我是太熟悉了,几乎到了心领神会的境界。

今年雨水少。奇怪的是快要出发的前几天来了几场阵雨,然后就有大块的黑云朝内华达山脉移动。看着令人焦心哪,就赶紧与护林局电话联系,确保出行的日子吉特-卡尔森(Kit Carson)山口畅通无阻。护林员说山口不会关闭,但有可能要求过往的车辆安装滑雪链。这可不能马虎,赶紧买了链子放在车里以防万一。尽管来回这链子都没用上,我心里还舒了口气呢,在大雪纷飞里给车轱辘穿戴铁链子,开上一段再在车水马龙的高速公路边上卸链子,可不是什么好玩的把戏。

夏天的内华达山是周末一日游或帐篷露营的好地方,我们常去,那时从来没想到到山那边看看巨大而空旷的内华达沙漠什么模样。这回一片不毛之地却成了保护我们绕过积雪的安全岛。88号公路把我们一直领到内华达州的岷登镇 (Minden, Nevada),在那里与395高速连接,一路南下直奔碧石埠。 这一路上高大的山脉,山峰林立,白雪皑皑,沿途矗立,令人肃然起敬。

碧石埠未到,那395号高速先要进入欧文斯谷(wens Valley)。映入眼帘的是一座古老巨大的盐水湖。 莫诺湖是美利坚大陆最古老的湖泊之一,与犹他州的大盐湖一起都可能是远古海洋的弃婴。空中蒸发,地下渗落,加上供水不足,莫诺湖远比大盐湖和大海含盐度要高。上个世纪四十年代,洛杉矶人口膨胀,就向欧文斯河(Owens River)狮子大开口。偌大个欧文斯湖(Owens Lake)在这次浩劫之后成了季节湖,湖床开始沙漠化。莫诺湖的水源也被大部分切割,湖面缩小了三分之一还多,原本就脆弱的莫诺湖生态系统顷刻间恶化。盐碱塔冒出,湖水过咸,水生物大量死亡,绝迹,水鸟不得不迁徙别处。到了八十年代,九十年代,旧金山的民众为莫诺湖的厄运大声疾呼,奔走相告,才使得吸血般的调水工程停了下来。只是巨大的伤害已经既成事实,这湖水的恢复不是一天两天的事。水位要恢复到生态平衡的最低限还要几十年的时间。这一切戏曲性的抗争都应该是发展的借鉴。

相比之下,碧石埠啥也没有。喜爱大山错落有致,雪峰林立的人来到这里会感到失望,这镇子太靠欧文斯谷的东边,与西边的大山相去甚远,太多沙漠的味道。只是碧石埠为一方重镇,为游客提供饮食,旅馆,补给各项服务。登记完毕,我们便去了西边雪峰林立的高地。 一时间寒气陡峭,天也在快速变暗,尽管如此,我们在半小时之内还是走了几个白雪皑皑的山谷,目睹雪山,石阵,仙人掌的奇观。 出得山来,一轮圆月已经把东边的沙漠照得明晃晃的了。

2.

多好的天哪,除了地平线上的几丝雾霭,能见度几乎无懈可击。这里几乎从不下雨,当天的气温十分理想,早起华氏60多度,下午升到80度左右。 要知道华氏100度在这里实属平常,偶尔会超越130度,实在比人体温度高出太多。

欧文斯谷就够干燥的了,看了就让人焦心。而这死亡谷比欧文斯谷还要干上何止十倍。人到了这里不禁感到警觉,甚至毛骨悚然,所从而那一株株站立在废墟上的约叔华树 (Joshua Tree) 简直就像无畏的英雄,令人虚然起敬。从西面入谷,还未到主盆地,先看到一簇簇桔黄色的野花,十分惹眼,走到近前芳香扑鼻,胜过最好的香料。赶紧拍照,花作前景,谷作背景,非常出色。可惜从照相机转到电脑时发生故障,丢失照片若干,至今心痛不已。

新来乍到,映入眼帘的是一条或一条条长长的飘带在深谷沙漠里伸向天际。也许是连绵不断的沙丘,也许是这里遍地的硼砂;千年干旱留下的遗产,连岩石也以不同的色彩在谷地周遭的山梁山谷里无限飘浮。这景色看上去似乎没有套数,但那些色彩,各种各样的颜色,山石相连,层层叠叠,自然奔放,将山谷盆地连接得浑然一起。 出人意料的色彩给这块沙谷凭添了一份不可多得的和谐,安慰着因为一时不适应而黯淡的,抽搐的,哭泣的灵魂。

任何一瞥都不可能把这巨大的沙谷看全;这里的一切从远古向未来无限伸展。一个人只有慢慢移动目光,从这头看到那头,经过好几分钟才能感觉一些大漠的沉默和悲伤要表达的心思。大漠常年累月地给心灵传递着独特的音讯。这没有语言的音讯只有极少的心灵可以感应,更少的人能够把这个信息转译成可解的密码,进而窥视一本整体的天书。

宇宙比我们本身所代表的高级智慧生命要古老的多。比如,眼下这里缺水缺得令人心悸。水啊,那只托付各式生命的温柔之手似乎遗弃了这个世界的角落。可是别忘了这里曾经是海底世界。七彩峡谷 (Mosaic Canyon) 至今保留着大理石一般美妙绝伦的石头,既是这个星球年轻时造山运动的足迹,也是海水不可忍受的高压的遗迹。 在时间的长河里,水退了,蒸发了,渗入地下,水是流着眼泪离开的呀!随着地壳的每一次运动,每次地震都回促使这谷地周遭的巨大的山峰长高几寸甚或几尺,从而将大海与这里隔开得愈来愈远。而死亡谷不断下沉,沙丘不断增大,这没有水的世界还要延续。在这里曾有一群淘金者迷了路,他们在迷宫一样的山谷里拼命突围,可这里实在是太大了,天气酷热,死亡不可避免,从而这里有了死亡谷的名字。人们也许忘了在淘金者之前土生的印第安人在曾与沙谷周旋了一代又一代,生活得安然无恙,最早欣赏了粗狂的美丽。从而,我们不能放弃,因为永恒对我们的宇宙是一个不兼容的概念。死亡谷曾经存在于海底,也许几个千年之后还会回到海底。唯一不变的是时间哪,所有的一切都应该学会与世界和谐。

进七彩峡谷步行,为光滑的大理石所吸引,曾居海底的岩石被水压打磨得如此靛丽,也许到了地面也曾受过多次大洪水的检阅,上个冰川纪也曾伸手帮忙。心里一直难以承受这天大地大的干枯,从而几株植物,平常的植物开着小小的花一下子看上去是如此华丽高雅;她们的勇敢无畏让眼神里的悲伤一下子减去了许多。

扑入沙丘温柔细软的怀抱时,人和双眼已经习惯了这里鬼魅般的色彩和粉尘弥漫的环境。一座座沙丘都是不矮的山梁,千万个游客进去了顷刻不见了人影。这都算不了什么,死亡谷巨大,一个个沙丘在这里显得像孩子玩耍的沙坑一样渺小。大人孩子都喜欢玩沙子,那沙丘就让人群变成幼儿,尽情玩耍。 天哪,看吧,岩石呈现红色,紫色,黄色,橙色,粉红色,各种各样色彩的线条在谷地四周环绕,好像有一只巨手为孩子们粉刷出一个巨大无比鲜艳有加的游乐场。我们都是这个令人琢磨不透的宇宙的孩子,今天是个好日子,大家都来玩沙子。  

死谷之大,令人咂舌。东西约30-50英里宽,南北约140-150英里长。所以一天的行程只能参观个别景点,否则晚上回旅馆都困难。 离开了沙丘地带我们到死谷之都火炉沟(Furnace Creek)吃了随身携带的午餐,饭间决定下午只看祖布瑞斯基景点(Zubriskie Point),涩水池 (Badwater) 然后从开车穿行艺术家之路 (Artist Drive)。

此刻的眼睛不仅习惯了极度的干涸景象还开始对比如祖布瑞斯基景点的地方十分欣赏。曾几何时,这里是火炉湖(Furnace Lake )的湖底。那湖几百万年前就干涸了,只剩下一些岩石和沟壑在这里以光滑鲜艳的颜色展示其美丽的彩饰,简直就是一幅艺术作品,带有现代主义的特色,抽象里不失和谐。这里的世界以清晰和大块的颜色和形状独树一帜,吸引眼球。 祖布瑞斯基景点显得人多,停车场就在景点旁边,下车就到,一时车水马龙,熙熙攘攘。从这里往前去有很多类似的景象,岩石着鲜艳之色,连接起伏的沟壑山梁,可惜我们必须忙着赶路。

涩水池 (Badwater)是下一站。一小池子,地处洼地,含盐量极高,这就是整个死亡谷最出名的地方,游客如织。很多人都知道这里是美利坚大陆的最低点(海拔负的282英尺)。到了地面,其实什么也没有可看的,除了那非正常的池水,有硼砂结晶和其他看上去令人不舒服的东西混入其中,然后就是伸向天边的硼砂田,白森森一片。我们没有多作停留就离开了。

艺术家之路 (Artist Drive)的景色和祖布瑞斯基景点大体一致,只是视角是从下往上看,七彩的山谷山梁在周围头顶盘旋着。这时候,阳光从背后投射,所有彩石以最佳的风貌展现在游人眼前。 单行道很窄,但是铺了柏油。有两处可以停车,行人可以走近山谷,或步行或摄影,孩子们可以在一片美丽的景象里撒欢,扑入大自然怀抱,真真切切与大沙漠近距离交臂。

3。

一整天都没有看表,但我们知道5点钟必须回返。嘴里嘟囔过要去金色峡谷(Golden Canyon)走路,但时间不允许啊,这里离旅馆有150 英里的距离。尽管如此,还是不想从原路开车回返。这样放弃朝西,而是朝正北方向直奔斯考第古堡(Scotty's Castle)。沃尔特-斯考特(Walter Scott,也叫死亡谷斯考第)是上个世纪三十年代出名的煽客,骗行高手,硬是凭着三寸不烂之舌说服了芝加哥的百万富翁阿尔伯特-约翰逊,让其信服死亡谷附近有金矿。到最后,因为阿尔伯特的夫人白丝太太(Bessie Johnson)对这片天地一见钟情,约翰逊夫妇才在此地修建了一座古堡作为度假屋。这就给了斯考第可乘之机,那厮就四处宣扬他在死亡谷拥有的古堡。这一讹传讹,到了终了,这古堡反而以吹牛大王斯考第命名。后来人已作古,古堡被联邦政府买入,成了死亡谷国家公园的一部分。我们路过时,古堡已经对游人关闭,但是工作人员依然热情地请我们给古堡外景拍照并且使用洗手间。那可是很好的礼遇,我们赶长途也需要这样的休息,还能趁此灌满水瓶,一备后患。

遗憾的是白丝太太在死谷的瑭斯山口死于车祸,这可是她生前最喜爱的地域啊。无独有偶,大卫,根斯这位当年斯坦福大学的研究生以自己的研究论文为据发动了“拯救莫诺湖”运动的风云人物也在莫诺湖附近死于车祸。因果报应在这块土地上好像有些歪曲了呢。

经过斯考第古堡的想法是利用内华达州笔直的高速公路回返彼氏铺,那些高速公路的确很直,而且几乎没有车辆行驶。但是我没有看仔细,从内华达回到加利福尼亚要翻越不是一座,不是两座,而是三座不小的山。这些山路白天肯定风景优美,令人心旷神怡,可到了晚上就难以行驶。急转弯是一个接着一个,小车几乎是在爬行,高灯打了一路,驾驶员的注意力还得高度集中。我都感觉自己的衣服湿了贴在后脊梁上。一到巨松村(Big Pine)上了395号高速,这才长舒了一口气。15分钟后就回到了碧石埠,时间已是傍晚8:45,有些餐馆已经关门了。

第三天回家的路程十分轻松,路况记忆犹新,所遇情况了如指掌;心情放松了,就觉得那些参差不齐的雪峰在晨光下更加雄伟壮丽。一路都有阵雨,雾霭,雪花。有些山峰常常隐没于大雾之中,偶尔充满戏剧性的探头而出,真是一会儿一个模样,令人不能分心。想在莫诺湖下车再看个仔细,可到了地方,乌云密布,部分地段大雨滂沱。好在之前看到了优胜美地游客服务中心(Yosemite Visitor's Center),好像是新修的,里面有展览馆,演示厅,书店,设施先进,干净。 从服务中心出来,天色放晴,阳光柔和,一下子就看到了触目惊心的场面。走近了就有强烈的腥味扑鼻而来,令人窒息。鸟儿在嘶鸣。我还是喜爱这湖,都是世界的一部分,既悲伤又美丽。

沿着395号高速一路北上,看到雄伟的雪山就停车拍照,在沃尔科河(Walker River)边下车仅仅因为那河水欢快而公路离河近在咫尺。到达岷登镇之前有一场瓢泼大雨,竟然洗去车上的所有灰尘。在岷登镇下车吃午饭,再从卡尔森山口(Kit Carson Pass)过内华达山好像一路觉得其乐无穷,毕竟回到了熟悉的环境。过山口十是下午两点,没有要求安链子,真好。我们不着急赶路,看到那里有优美的松枝挂满白雪就停车照相。这一路开回去十分顺当,所以人就有些犯困。到了家门口是下午6点,阳光还很热烈呢。

写于2009年4月12-22日


The Long Corridor of Time

Spring Break called for a get-away trip.  Death Valley came to mind largely because it was said that wild flowers might put on a spectacular show there at this time.  The main consideration, however, was that the temperature in the Valley at this time of the year was mild enough to enjoy, for summer heat there could be suffocating, if not outright deadly.

Camping came to mind first.  But, all the campgrounds in and around the Valley were booked out, some of them 6 mouths in advance.  There were first come first serve campgrounds aplenty; but, it didn't sound prudent to travel a whole day, over 400 miles to try one's luck in the middle of a vast desert, a place that may be fascinating to look at but extremely harsh to live in.  The day temperature could easily reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit in April but at night it would drop below freezing.  To play it safe, we reserved a motel room in Bishop, California, approximately 50 miles northwest of Death Valley.

The obstacles didn’t entirely disappear with motel reservation.  The wonderful spring season had, indeed, brought spectacular lights and colors to the Pacific Coast.  While the valleys on West side of the High Sierras were soaked in lush green, the mountains, however, were still buried under deep snow.  Consequently, many high mountain passes, such as Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass, Ebbetts Pass and Monitor Pass, remained closed to automobile traffic for the foreseeable future.  In order to reach Bishop which was almost directly east of where we live, we must drive up North almost 50 to 60 miles to cross the High Sierras then travel a straight line down south to Bishop.  Heaven bless Lake Tahoe.  For the winter businesses around Lake Tahoe, a large numbers of snow plows were employed not only to keep Interstate 80 and California Highway 50 but also California Scenic By Path 88 open for traffic all year long.  I was thrilled to learn that my favorite scenic bypath, Route 88, offered the shortest distance to Bishop for this trip.  I knew almost by heart most of the curves of this scenic route through the high mountains.

Rain had been scarce this year.  For some reason, as the trip drew closer, a few rain showers passed through the area and marched towards the High Sierras.  That was an unsettling scene.  A few calls were made to the ranger stations in the mountains to make sure that Kit Carson Pass wouldn't be shut down on travel day.  The pass was open all right; but snow chains may be required.  So we were told.  We purchased a set of chains and kept them in the trunk just in case.  I for one was happy that the chains was never required during the trip, for I didn't fancy the task of having to putting on chains in a snow blizzard and then take them off a few miles later in screaming traffic.

The High Sierras was our favorite place for day trips or overnight camping trips during the summer.  It had never crossed our mind to extend the drive to the vast, arid and empty Nevada Desert.  For this trip, however, the dry land offered a safe haven away from deep snow.  We took Route 88 all the way to Minden, Nevada, to make a connection with Highway 395, the only way to Bishop and Death Valley during this time.  Along the way the High Sierras and its many majestic snow peaks lined up on the right side of the highway, providing wonderful views for long distance travelers.

Before Bishop, Highway 395 had to dive into Owens Valley.  The first major attraction we saw was this age old salk lake.  Mono Lake is one of the oldest lakes of Continent America, part of the old Ocean that is left standing alongside with Salt Lake in Utah.  Because of massive evaporation and underground leaking, Mono Lake has much higher salt content than the Ocean itself and the Great Salt Lake.  In the early 1940s Los Angeles with its exploding population diverted a large amount of water from Owens River, a devastation that dried up the vast Owens Lake and took away most of the water supply for Mono Lake. As a result, Mono Lake was reduced almost by 30 perscent and the lake's ecosystem had been badly damaged.  Salt towers rose above the water, living things in water died off and migrate birds had to go elsewhere for refuge.  Only after some grass roots movements and legal battles in the 1970s and 1980s by folks from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles finally stopped drawing water from tributaries to Mono Lake in 1990s.  The recover has been painfully slow.  The days of the lake returning to its former self are still quite a few decades away.  Such a series of drama of struggle and triumph should serve as a pungent lesson for development.

Bishop didn’t really have much to offer.  For those in love with towering snow mountains, Bishop was located too much to the east side of the Owens Valley thus away from the jagged snow peaks in the West.  This roadside town embraces too much of the desert-like landscape.  However, Bishop was a sizeable town in the area thus offered tourists with many restaurants, hotels and motels and gas stations.  After checking into the motel, we decided to go into the snow capped mountains in the West side.  It was bitter cold and the evening light was fading away; still in half an hour, we managed to drive up and down a few valleys of snow, rocks and cacti.  When we came out of the shadows of the mountains, a nice full moon rose above the desert in the east.   

The day scheduled for Death Valley was beautiful for a drive.  Except some faint haze on the horizon, the day offered fantastic visibility.  There isn't much rain here anyway.  The temperature was just ideal, starting in the 60s in the morning and warming to low 80s in the afternoon.  One had to bear in mind that this part of the world 100 degrees Fahrenheit was the norm, reaching over 130 on occasions, hotter than human body temperature.   

Owens Valley we left behind was dry enough and painful to look at; and yet, Death Valley took this aridity a few notches up even.  In such an alarming environment, those Joshua Trees stood up tall like heroes in the middle of dilapidated ruins of the world.  We entered the Valley from the West side.  Before the main valley, we saw some great wild flowers in bunches in yellowish orange.  Up close, the aroma made a mockery of any expensive fragrances.  I believed that I took some beautiful pictures of the flowers and the valleys in the foreground.  But they were lost while being transferred to the computer.  That still hurts.

As a newcomer, I seemed to notice a long ribbon or many ribbons stretching across the vast desert.  It could be sand dunes or simply fields of borax on the desert floor that stretched itself immeasurably into the horizon; or, rocks of the same color pattern passed through hills and canyons around the desert valley.  The landscape may appear listless at first glance; but, there were color patterns, all kinds of fantastic colors connecting mountains and valleys, hills and canyons all around and into the yonder.  Fantastic colors provided some much needed harmony in the land of death to console the souls that were saddened, pierced and crying.

No, a single gaze could never cover anything in this valley.  Everything stretched infinitely into the past and future. One's head must turn slowly for a few minutes to take in the message manifested in silence and sadness.  The desert sent a unique signal to the heart and soul, though no word was ever spoken.  Only a few could hear it.  Fewer yet could size up the proportion into believable bits and go away with a message with certain degree of wholesomeness.

Our universe is much, much older than the current life form we represent as intelligent beings.  For one thing, water was painfully absent here, and now.  Water, the gentle hand that holds up life in its variety of forms, seemed to have abandoned this corner of the world.  However, let's not forget that this dusty valley was once the bottom of the ocean.  Mosaic Canyon displayed fantastic rocks in the quality of marbles that bore footprints of the mountain making days of our young planet and the unbearable pressure of deep sea water.  In the long corridor of time, water receded; water evaporated; water sank into underground; water left with tears in her eyes. With Earth's every crust movement, i.e., earthquake, the majestic mountains around the Valley grew a few inches or feet thus kept the ocean that still has the greatest body of water further away from the abandoned cousin here and from ancient memory.  Death Valley keeps on sinking.  Sand dunes enlarge themselves and waterless existence persists on and on.  Maybe this was why a group of men were lost in this huge maze in search of gold.  They struggled for days to escape the trap of vast size and unforgiving heat.  Some members died thus Death Valley became the name for this place.  Yet, long preceding that unfortunate incident, Native Indians spent generations here and learned to adapt with the Valley.  They must be the first ones who enjoyed the wild beauty of this great land.  In short, we shouldn’t give in, for eternality is an alien concept in our university.  Death Valley once resided in the bottom of an ocean and may well return to an ocean in a few millennia.  One must have faith in the dimension of time.  One must learn to harmonize with the world outside.

That day we took a short hike into the narrow gorges of Mosaic Canyon and were immediately attracted by smooth marble as a major part of the geology.  This was once the ocean floor and flood in the past few millenia had polished the rocks to such adorability.  Maybe the glaciers of previous Ice Age also lent a helping hand.  Still the overwhelming sensation was the immense dryness.  A few plants, ordinary plants with small flowers looked so gorgeous and courageous and offered so much comfort to the eye.

By the time we threw ourselves into the open arms of the sand dunes, the eyes had acclimated themselves to the ghostly colors of the landscape and powdery nature of the environment.  The sand dunes were huge hills and ten thousand visitors could disappear into them without a trace.  And yet the valley made it appear like a sandlot in a large playground.  People, children and adults, loved to play in the sand and the hills made them look like little toddlers of nature.  Oh, rocks with red, purple, yellow, orange, pink, and other rings lined up the hills and valley around the main valley.  It was as if a giant hand painted the playground for happy children.  We were, indeed, children of this fantastic universe.  Today there was nothing to worry, just go and play in the sand.

The size of this valley blows one's mind: it's about 3040 miles or so wide (from east to west) and 140-150 miles long.  We had to choose our spots to visit for the day; otherwise, we would have trouble getting back to our motel at night.  After Sand Dunes, we stopped by Furnace Creek, the de facto capital of The Valley, to have a quick lunch.  There we decided to visit only Zubriskie Point, Badwater and drive through Artist Drive.

By now, not only did the eyes get acclimated to the valley's aridity but also start to enjoyed places like Zabriskie Point. This point was once at the bottom of Furnace Lake that dried up many millions of years ago, there are now rocks and valleys extending themselves in beautifully smooth waves into distance.  The place was like art work, modern, abstract and yet harmonious.  Vivid colors and shapes came close to the eye and made the world a very interesting place to behold. Zabriskie Point was a popular destination as the parking lot was practically next to the vista point thus not much walk was required.  Along the same route one could travel miles to see a different version of the same landscape, painted rocks that linked many valleys and ridges.  But we had to move on.

Our next stop was Badwater. This low and salty pool was probably the best known and most visited place in Death Valley, largely because everyone heard the lowest point (-282 feet) in the whole continent of America was here.  But there was nothing to it, besides the unusual water with borax and other yucky stuff sticking out on the edge of a long stretch of borax field.  We didn't stay there for long.

Artist Drive was next and provided basically the same view that Zabriskie Point did.  But from the bottom of the valley we could look up at all the mosaic colored peaks and valleys.  And the best part was that the sun was behind us thus cast a nice clear light onto them artistic rocks.  The narrow road of Artist Drive was paved.  At a couple of points there was parking space so people could stop to take a hike up and down the canyons or take pictures.  Kids could run around and throw themselves onto the rocks and valley floors. It was truly up-close with the desert.

We didn't keep time for most of that day.  However, we knew by 5 o'clock we had to depart.  We might have talked about hiking up Golden Canyon but time was running out as we had 150 miles to travel to our motel.  In the meantime, I didn't want to go back via the same route.  So, instead of West, we headed North towards Scotty's Castle.  Walter Scott (Death Valley Scotty in the 1930s) was a famed con-artist who successfully persuaded Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson that there were gold mines in the vincinity of Death Valley.  Albert's wife, Bessie, loved the area so they built this castle as their vacation home. But Scotty went around and bragged about "his" castle in his con-artist business.  As a result, the castle which is now owned by the Federal Government as part of the national park is named after Scotty the non-stop talking con-man.  The castle was closed for tours but the rangers graciously allowed us to take pictures of the external and use the facilities.  That was very nice as we were, indeed, in need of such relief and getting some drinking water.

One sad note is that Bessie Johnson died of automobile accident at Townes Pass in Death Valley, a place she fell in love with; also, Dave Gaines the Stanford University graduate student who started the Save Mono Lake campaign also dies of automobile accident near Mono Lake.  Karma in this part of the world was a bit distorted.

The idea of going through Scotty's Castle was to reach Bishop via some of the straight line freeways of Nevada.  Those freeways were straight and free of traffic all right.  But little did I know that to come back from Nevada to California I must go over not one, not two but three sizeable mountains.  Those roads may be very scenic under daylight.  But at night they were barely navigable.  Sharp curves were followed by sharp curves; the car was reduced to a crawl; yet, the mind must remain fully alert.  High beams had to be on all the way. I knew that my back was wet.  What a relief to be back to Highway 395 at Big Pine.  A merely 15 minutes later we were back in Bishop.  The time was 8:45 and some restaurants were already closed.

Home bound return trip was a breeze because we knew what to expect.  Those jagged snow peaks appeared simply regal in the soft morning sunlight.  Rain showers were numerous, mist and snow flurries occurred along the way.  Some mountain tops were enshrouded in heavy mist, putting on some rather dramatic and shocking shows from one moment to the next.  We wanted to stop by Mono Lake for a closer look.  But when we got there, the lake was under dark clouds and rain was pouring on to part of valley floor.  Before the Lake, we checked into the Yosemite Visitor's Center as it offered some wonderful shelter with a museum, a theater, a bookstore and marvelous facilities.  By the time we came out of the Visitor's Center, soft sunlight cast onto Mono Lake to reveal a trembling reality.  Strong odor was a bit hard to swallow.  Birds were shrieking.  I loved the lake because it was part of our world, sad yet beautiful.

We went up north along Highway 395, taking pictures of snow peaks once we determined that they looked majestic.  We stopped by the Walker River because the river flow appeared quite energetic and the highway was right next to it.  There was some heavy downpour before Minden, just in time to wash the car clean.  After lunch at Minden, the trip across the High Sierras via Kit Carson Pass seemed enjoyable.  It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon; no chains were required at the Pass.  We took our time and picked wherever we deemed best for pictures of the pine trees with best snow hanging on their branches and leaves.  The rest of the way was smooth abut a bit tiring.  When we pulled up to the house, it was about 6 o'clock.  The sun was still shining enthusiastically.

April 12-22, 2009


9

主题

60

好友

24万

积分

精华
2

发表于 2013-11-24 11:35:38 |显示全部楼层
放到博客里嘛,分成几部分,加上照片!
回复

使用道具 举报

您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 用户注册

Archiver|手机版|珍珠湾全球网

GMT+8, 2020-1-29 18:38 , Processed in 0.032832 second(s), 6 queries , Apc On.

Powered by Discuz! X2.5

回顶部