Mammoth Lakes, CA
Hot Creek Geological Site, Mono County Inyo National Forest.
The magnificent Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range, Hot Creek Geological Site, is a back door to Yosemite National Park. A hot creek geological site, is part of what remains of an ancient volcanic caldera in California’s mono county. It looks like a small portion of Yellowstone to me. I found this spot several years ago, and wanted to go there ever since. Yet, I have been waiting for the right conditions with the right amount of snow that covers the mountains and surrounding area of the site. On this particular very early morning, the eastern sky was overcast and stormy with low clouds covering almost 90% of California according to my weather radar application. This wasn’t a promising sign for a good sunrise.
Knowing that that the sun would be rising from the South East angle, and sort of rising on the line where the clouds were not present, (a small portion of Southern California) I decided to choose this location as my last stop, on my two day trip throughout the valley. I already knew that the last section of the road to get there (approx mile and a half) was covered with deep snow, ice, and massive frozen ruts from cars.
I had no other choice but to hike there, with all of my gear. It took me almost an hour to get there in darkness with my flickering flashlight. The icy cold wind was smashing on my face from left to right all the way to the spot. More than a halfway into the hike, I started noticing promising light on the horizon. That gave me a boost of confidence to get there quicker while dashing through the snow. I almost knew that the sky will soon show me my favorite pallet of colors that I was quietly hoping for.
I ended up being there with another photographer, who I believe stayed overnight sleeping in the car. What a dedication, cheers mate! :-) The sunrise was spectacular. It was actually divided into two phases. The second phase of the best intensity of colors, came 10 min after the first one, and appeared directly behind the highest peaks around Convict Lake. I was so delighted.
Eight frames panoramic image