The Sierras: Satanic Basalt, Godly Granite & Trees Older Than the Written Word

Scenic Highway into the Sierras!

I love the Sierras. Every time I drive to the California coast (five times in my life now) I always stop for a hike in the Sierras. Here are a few of my favorite photos from Devil’s Postpile National Monument, the John Muir Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, Yosemite National Park and the Forest of the Ancients. So much to see on this awesome Earth!

The Devil’s Postpile. A columnar basalt formation surrounded by Sierra granite!

Dogs atop the Devil’s Postpile. Notice the hexagons! The neighboring ridge in the background is granite.

Dogs on the JMT!

Pacific Crest Trail, eastern California

Yosemite Granite! God I love those mountains!

Find the Climbers! El Capitan,Yosemite National Park. Hint: there are 6. One is wearing red. (Click to enlarge)

Yosemite Bobcat!

Yosemite Coyote!

Bristlecone Pine Tree. Forest of the Ancients, California

Two-headed dog overlooking Death Valley from the Forest of the Ancients

One of Earth’s most ancient creatures. Bristlecone pines in this grove have been measured at more than 4,000 years old. When these trees first sprouted there were 7 million people on Earth, written language was just being invented and agriculture was slowly spreading across the Middle East.

For more on the Yosemite Bobcat check out my previous (Freshly Pressed!) post: Crossing Paths, Bobcat! On to the California Coast!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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25 Responses to The Sierras: Satanic Basalt, Godly Granite & Trees Older Than the Written Word

  1. bonsai eejit says:

    Lovely shots, you just burst my bubble, I always thought that the only place in the world to see hexagonal stone was here in Northern Ireland at the Giant’s Causeway It would appear after a google search that they appear throughout the world. You live and learn 🙂

    • Yep! There are a few places with hexagonal basalt. The Devil’s Postpile is known for having the longest, straightest columns. Your Causeway is definitely on my to see list! 🙂

  2. Tammy says:

    Wow, love the pictures. I have to agree l love the hexagonal stone, l never thought that it would lay bare like that on the top. I always figured it would be covered by dirt. Instead it looks like a patio was laid out by God!

  3. What awesome pictures!!! I found 4 out of 6 of the climbers. lol

  4. Don West says:

    Geology. Amazing isn’t it?

  5. Nilu says:

    I just can’t find all the climbers. How fast are you traveling? Are you looking for anything in particular along the way? Yosemite is one of my personal dream-destination. I have to go once I visit the US again.

  6. coyotejoe says:

    i just came over via luther pass, the sierras knock me out every time. still basking in the glow.. halleluia!

  7. amazingved says:

    brilliant shots

  8. Louise says:

    Love following your trip and love the teardrop! We have hexagonal rocks in south-west B.C.
    Are you passing through Vancouver, B.C. on your way to Alaska?

    • I think I’ll hit Vancouver on the way back south. I have big plans for the Canadian Rockies (Yoho/ Banff) on the way north!

    • Sandra Seekins says:

      If you would like a true west coast Canadian feast of wild BBQ salmon on the way back down through Vncouver, let us know by email. We would love to see the teardrop!

  9. What fabulous country for hiking ! Thanks for sharing.

  10. mountainmae says:

    Trees older than the written word sure puts things in perspective. I never found the climbers- I tried really I did.

  11. knotrune says:

    I found the 6 climbers, but only on the biggest version of the picture! It really shows the scale! I love your blog, it’s nice to know someone is living this life and enjoying it, thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  12. The climbers on El Capitan really puts it’s size in perspective…..lovely shots!

  13. The photo with the climbers blew me away!

  14. scribespain says:

    Just wanted to say that I so enjoy your posts over here in Spain. They are a real insight into a different lifestyle on a different continent and Iwhich I learn a great deal from. Thanks

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  16. beeseeker says:

    Aaargh – gots to go back and find those climbers – super post as always !

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