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Tahoe Nugget #114:

Eastern Sierra Delights
June 11, 2007

There is a lot more going on down Highway 395 than big mountain scenery and small town friendliness. From May to October trout fishing is a top attraction for visitors to the Eastern Sierra. Last week Nora and I found out that anxious anglers have no qualms about getting out of bed before dawn, cranking up their diesel pickups and talking loudly outside our motel door about where the fish are biting best. By the time we reached the Sabrina Lake District about 35 miles west of Bishop at a more reasonable hour, scores of bait and fly fishermen already lined the shores while many others manned boats or drifted along in their personal fishing floats. The action seemed a bit subdued, but I suspect that the spectacular views and peaceful ambience more than made up for the lack of a catch. Largest fish I saw measured was about 18 inches long and weighed in at 3 pounds, but there are plenty of pictures tacked up on the bait shop walls of people hoisting a trophy catch.

Beyond the fishing experience a trip down 395 offers plenty of easy exploration into the rugged and seismically active canyons along the Eastern Sierra Front. There are numerous geological features related to the region's relatively recent volcanic history that many travelers miss. A short drive up towards the Mammoth Mountain ski resort leads you to the Devil's Postpile National Monument where a mass of lava cooled slowly and evenly, producing long, symmetrical columns of black basalt rock. On the way there, a roadside pullout offers access to a large earthquake fissure that is 15 feet across and more than 30 feet deep. Pretty impressive and makes you wonder when the next big temblor will hit this active earthquake zone.

Nearby another quick detour up a short dirt road offers an opportunity to explore Obsidian Dome, an impressive mound of lava that hardened into shiny black glass. The extruded flow is one mile long and up to 300 feet high, a hulking pile of fascinating rock that will make you want to take a chunk home for the mantle.

Photo #1: Fisherman floating in Lake Sabrina. Anglers propel the inflated watercraft with flippers on their feet.
Photo #2: Dad teaching his son to fish at Convict Lake
Photo #3: Hugh earthquake fissure at Mammoth, California. If you look closely you can see a fence and person among the huge trees at the top of the photo.
Photo #4: Rock in foreground shows banding common in obsidian rock
Photo #5: Taking it easy

Nugget #114 A Floater on Sabrina Lk

Nugget #114 B Father son Convict Lake

Nugget #114 C Mammoth fissure

Nugget #114 D Obsidian Dome

Nugget #114 E Cowboy silihouette


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