Eastern California boasts the greatest dryland relief in the contiguous United States–between Mt. Whitney and Death Valley–and that relief exposes spectacular geology. These thirty driving and walking tours each weave the tale of geological features or relationships in this land of extremes. Some sketches ponder questions that puzzle geologists: how do stones slide across Racetrack playa? Others spotlight the earth-sculpturing role of volcanoes and earthquakes: lava columns at Devil’s Postpile and fault scarps that shape a golf course. Still, others focus on less obvious but equally powerful processes: boulders shattered by salt crystals and rocks blasted by windblown sand.
There are those memories of the autumnal winds when seasons turn upside down and the icy drama of the silver winter threads through the hollows between trees stirring last year’s brown leaves into a low ruckus and crackle. Thin and bare sycamore branches, delicate and bony, trace low and lonely moans in their dark choir. Pink sand from the nearby riverbed salted everywhere and anywhere; grit flecked in your hair, in your shoes, in your eyes. These are the days. These were the days. These are the heartfelt and kind memories of these days.