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Grumpy Old Guy

(3,203 posts)
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 03:33 AM Jul 2021

The Columns at Crowley Lake

Scientists believe these remarkable columns were created 750,000 years ago when snow fell on fresh volcanic ash. However, they were buried beneath the soil and unknown to humans until Crowley Lake was created in the 1940s as part of the notorious Los Angeles Aqueduct, the subject of the movie "Chinatown." The erosion from the waves of the newly formed lake washed away the soil surrounding the columns, leaving these spectacular formations.

Some of these pics may seem repetitive, but I just can't get enough of this place. It was another bucket list item for me.


19 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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The Columns at Crowley Lake (Original Post) Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 OP
Fantastic photos, thanks. OnDoutside Jul 2021 #1
Great article, thanks for sharing. Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #11
About the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the St. Francis Dam. Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #12
The closeups look like elephant trunks nuxvomica Jul 2021 #2
I thought the same thing! SheltieLover Jul 2021 #3
If you love elephants, you see them everywhere nuxvomica Jul 2021 #4
I dearly love them! SheltieLover Jul 2021 #5
They definitely look like elephant trunks! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #13
Absolutely gorgeous! SheltieLover Jul 2021 #6
Thank you! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #16
Wow! lark Jul 2021 #7
Thank you Lark. Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #14
This is new to me. brer cat Jul 2021 #8
Thank you! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #15
Thank you! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #17
Wow, thank you so much, my dear Grumpy Old Guy! CaliforniaPeggy Jul 2021 #9
Thanks Peggy! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #18
Just Remarkable Grumpy Old Guy! I can see why you can't get enough of such a place. George McGovern Jul 2021 #10
Thanks! Grumpy Old Guy Jul 2021 #19

Grumpy Old Guy

(3,203 posts)
11. Great article, thanks for sharing.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 02:54 PM
Jul 2021

There are a few points that the article missed. It mentions Father Crowley's promotion of tourism in the Eastern Sierra, but it left out one of the most important aspects of that. The people of Inyo and Mono Counties were struggling with both the depression and the fallout from losing their water. Father Crowley convinced many of the communities to promote trout fishing as a way to draw visitors to the area. The Eastern Sierra is a sportfishing Mecca to this day, and is in fact what first drew me to the area twenty five years ago.

The article also mentions Father Crowley Overlook in Death Valley. The overlook is also known worldwide as Star Wars Canyon, aka The Jedi Transition. Military pilots from all over the world have been coming to Rainbow Canyon, it's official name, to practice their low level and canyon maneuvers since World War II. It's one of the few places in the world where one can view and photograph military aircraft from above. Sadly, a pilot perished there in 2019 when he slammed into the canyon wall.

I'm going to mention a few things about Mulholland and the Owens Valley Ripoff in another post.

Grumpy Old Guy

(3,203 posts)
12. About the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the St. Francis Dam.
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 03:25 PM
Jul 2021

It is dumbfounding to me that, to this day, so few people know about the Owens Valley Ripoff, the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the St. Francis Dam Disaster. I won't go into the details here, but if anyone is interested, all you need to do is google "St. Francis Dam Disaster." I first learned this story as a young TV news intern forty five years ago.

In a nutshell, nearly five hundred people died in one night in 1928 when the southern most reservoir of the L.A. Aqueduct suffered a catastrophic failure. The dam workers and nearby residents had been warning about the obvious leaks, but William Mulholland, the head of the L.A. Water Department, drove out there and proclaimed it the safest dam in the world. Four hours after he got home the Dam completely collapsed and washed away in mere seconds. A wall of water three hundred feet high started moving towards the ocean at thirty miles per hour. You can't imagine the devastation. They found the last confirmed casualties in the 1990s, and still find remains to this day that may be from the flood. The farthest body was found in San Diego.

I've read different reasons why news of the disaster was hidden from the public at the time. One theory is that the tragedy reflected badly on the most powerful civic leaders in Los Angeles, including Mulholland, Harrison Otis, Harry Chandler, Fred Eaton and Henry Huntington. A more plausible reason is that the powers that be wanted to get Congressional approval to build Hoover Dam, then known as Boulder Dam. They were afraid that if people knew what happened in California, Boulder Dam would never get built.

Here are a few photos from my visits to the Dam site.

The rubble in the foreground was the base of the dam. The gash in the far cliff was the east abutment.

If you look at the large concrete blocks behind these crosses, you'll notice a "stair step" pattern. This was a piece of concrete from the face of the dam. It still lies where it came to rest, along with dozens of other concrete chunks.

I took an official tour of the site a few years ago. The docents said that a bill had passed Congress to make it a national monument, but the bill sat unsigned on Trump's desk. I don't know what ever happened to it.

Also, the water wars in the Eastern Sierra continue to this day. There were public hearings earlier this year concerning changes in the water allotments to the farmers and ranchers in Mono County.

I hope you folks find this interesting. Don't even get me started about the dust contamination from the dry Owens Lake bed.


(57,073 posts)
6. Absolutely gorgeous!
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 06:33 AM
Jul 2021

Thank you so much for sharing these with us all!

They look like elephant trunks to me & I dearly love elephants!


(23,244 posts)
7. Wow!
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 10:07 AM
Jul 2021

i loved the progression of the pictures, felt like I was there walking towards these magnificent natural sculptures.


(149,941 posts)
9. Wow, thank you so much, my dear Grumpy Old Guy!
Sun Jul 4, 2021, 12:07 PM
Jul 2021

I love the progression of these--getting closer and closer until they just swamp the photo! Truly stunning and fascinating in a geological sense.

Thank you for sharing your obsession with us!

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