Arches of Alabama Hills

Arches are a popular landscape feature in the Alabama Hills.  We did not get to photograph all of them (good reason to go back).  The most photographed arch is Mobius, in part because it is so accessible with a good hiking trail and an excellent view of the Sierras, including Mt. Whitney.  From the road you can spot the Eye of Alabama.  Frankly, I took it to be a hole in the rock rather than an arch.  Just steps away from Mobius is the Lathe Arch.  Two arches that are more difficult to find as there is no trail or signage are Cyclops Arch and Boot Arch.  Away from the usual route through the hills and along Tuttle Creek you can see what is called Sparkplug Arch.

 This is Mobius Arch at sunrise.  If you are lucky there are not too many photographers there to share space and precious sunrise time.

This is Mobius Arch at sunrise.  If you are lucky there are not too many photographers there to share space and precious sunrise time.

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 Mobius Arch gets a shadow once the sun starts tracking toward the west (Sierra side).

Mobius Arch gets a shadow once the sun starts tracking toward the west (Sierra side).

 There are many photographic compositions at Mobius Arch because you can actually walk around it.

There are many photographic compositions at Mobius Arch because you can actually walk around it.

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 Most photographs are taken showing the Sierras through the arch.  But, an interesting composition can be had by walking around to the other side of the arch and catching the Panamint Mountains to the west.  There was a large brush fire near Independence the morning this photograph was taken so you can spot the smoke in the arch as well.

Most photographs are taken showing the Sierras through the arch.  But, an interesting composition can be had by walking around to the other side of the arch and catching the Panamint Mountains to the west.  There was a large brush fire near Independence the morning this photograph was taken so you can spot the smoke in the arch as well.

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 Lathe Arch is just yards west of Mobius.  The space is very tight and narrow with room for only one person at a time.  It only offers a view to the west (Sierra's).

Lathe Arch is just yards west of Mobius.  The space is very tight and narrow with room for only one person at a time.  It only offers a view to the west (Sierra's).

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 This is called the Eye of Alabama Arch.  It is easily spotted from the parking lot for the trailhead to Mobius Arch.  We did not explore this one.  I was afraid of the strange creature that reached out at me as I got close!

This is called the Eye of Alabama Arch.  It is easily spotted from the parking lot for the trailhead to Mobius Arch.  We did not explore this one.  I was afraid of the strange creature that reached out at me as I got close!

 This is Cyclops Arch.  Very little mention is made of it in most literature on Alabama Hills and we had to scout around I bit to find it!  We did not even attempt a sunrise photograph in this location.  It too is an easy arch to walk around and get different compositions.  We were there twice, once with only our iPhones as it was too dusty to get out the larger cameras.

This is Cyclops Arch.  Very little mention is made of it in most literature on Alabama Hills and we had to scout around I bit to find it!  We did not even attempt a sunrise photograph in this location.  It too is an easy arch to walk around and get different compositions.  We were there twice, once with only our iPhones as it was too dusty to get out the larger cameras.

 The road you see in the background going up the mountain is Whitney Portal Road and it takes you just where you would expect with a name like that!

The road you see in the background going up the mountain is Whitney Portal Road and it takes you just where you would expect with a name like that!

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 Many of the rock formations lead people to see animals or 'strange creatures from beyond'.  I see a claw here as part of a strange creature from . . . .

Many of the rock formations lead people to see animals or 'strange creatures from beyond'.  I see a claw here as part of a strange creature from . . . .

 This is Boot Arch.  We found it last and had to smile that we had driven by it numerous times but had not seen it at 'just the right angle' to call it a boot!

This is Boot Arch.  We found it last and had to smile that we had driven by it numerous times but had not seen it at 'just the right angle' to call it a boot!

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 Spark Plug Arch is on the right.  I walked that whole area and would not have identified it as an arch, much less seen it as a spark plug!  But that is what that pile of rocks is called.  Now, there is an opening but it appeared to me to be two separate rocks.  Perhaps I just did not walk around enough!

Spark Plug Arch is on the right.  I walked that whole area and would not have identified it as an arch, much less seen it as a spark plug!  But that is what that pile of rocks is called.  Now, there is an opening but it appeared to me to be two separate rocks.  Perhaps I just did not walk around enough!