Travel to U.S.: West: Sierra Nevada and Central Valley
Pictures from Yosemite, from the foothills, and from the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.
Yosemite's El Capitan, close to living rock when viewed from its base on a hot summer day. The rock then is very warm to the touch. Massive as it seems, the base is mantled by an extensive apron of boulders that have broken free.
Of course there are utilitarian ways of seeing these mountains. That's the story of Hetch Hetchy, one valley to the north of Yosemite but still in the national park. The City of San Francisco built a dam here to capture a free water supply from the public lands.
Hetch Hetchy from afar.
Dropping down into the Great Central Valley: buckeye in the Sierra foothills, seen from the road that leads down to Visalia from Sequoia National Park.
A sawmill's stock near Chinese Camp, in the foothills west of Yosemite.
Down on the floor of the San Joaquin valley's dry West Side, with the Pyramid Hills in the background.
Farther north, an archaic automobile ferry crosses the Sacramento River.
In the delta: water, water everywhere--in this case, seen from Rio Vista.
Irrigation, here of alfalfa, was the heart of the Central Valley's economic machine in at least the first half of the 20th century.
The valley became synonymous with agriculture on the grand scale.
Oranges were planted in groves so immense that from a distance the trees seem like blades of grass. Near Porterville.
East of Fresno. The air reeked, and the soil burned bare feet.
A flagger guides an approaching and low-flying plane that is spraying (or fertilizing?) an immense rice paddy.
The valley plays a supporting role in the continuing evolution of California as paradise.
But farmers are becoming scarcer as the valley becomes more urban with the arrival of desperate commuters from Los Angeles and the Bay Area: here, Merrie Olde Englande, south of Davis.
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