The Alabama Hills are located just outside Lone Pine, CA, at the base of Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Mt. Whitney has an elevation of 14,505 feet, and I will write more about it in my next post.
In stark contrast, the Alabama Hills are at an elevation of 5,354 feet, and are made of hills and rock formations covering 30,000 acres of desert. The entire recreation area is cared for and managed by the BLM and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group.
Over my next few posts I hope to show you just how amazing this entire area is. One of the things I found most remarkable is just how many movies have been filmed in the Alabama Hills! It is a movie mecca known as the “Hollywood Back Lot.”
If you’re like me, you grew up watching old westerns. A great majority of them were filmed here because the director could shoot one scene on one side of the rocks, move to the other side. and it looked so entirely different it could be a different season, year or town. Or, as in the case of Iron Man, it could even appear to be in an entirely different country. Amazing!
There are signs all over the Alabama Hills that depict filming history, and there is also a film historymuseum in town which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Here is just a fraction of the list of movies made in this area (in no particular order):
Tarzan films, Rawhide series, Gunga Din, How the West Was Won, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne movies, Lone Ranger series, Bonanza shows, Star Trek V and VII, Tremors, Gladiator, and Iron Man
As you look at the following pics as well as pics in the next few posts, try to imagine them as scenes in TV shows and feature films. Fun!
This was my first campsite.
Then when I moved sites I woke up every morning looking at a crocodile. Or is it an alligator? ;))
Here is the campsite from a distance.
And the same view at sunset.
Can you see Nonni in this next pic?
|Hint: She's at the top of the hill between the rocks.|
Coming back from a walk....
As we got closer I spotted a raven at our campsite. He stayed there until we got all the way to the van.
And this is just me being silly. Thank you, Tracy, for my wonderful parasol.
Here is a dust storm that rolled in.
And the clouds in the sky were constantly changing.
|a FISHBON cloud!|
Here are a few miscellaneous pics. I call the first one “falling faces.”
There are tons of campsites in Alabama Hills.
The rock face peering out in this next pic reminds me of something, but I can’t recall what. Any ideas?
I can’t help but wonder if this next one inspired some of the masks in the Gladiator movie.
Once again, me being silly....
And here’s a video of Nonni and Bentley being silly on one of our walks while at Alabama Hills. The old guy, Bentley (13) leaves Nonni (10) in the dust, but it doesn’t take her long to get turned around and catch up! They are having such fun. I love my furbabies!
TBI HS SYMPTOMS
I loved the Alabama Hills and Lone Pine, and can hardly wait to re-visit that area again one day, but it was also a stressful time for me – mainly because my relationship with Colvin was unraveling faster than I could catch up, and my symptoms were increasing. I’m not sure which affected which more.
It surprised me that even just changing dishwashing soap was a major ordeal for me. At the time, I tweeted that the change in color was very confusing for me. The new color was close to my DIY windex and often I found myself trying to wash dishes with the ammonia mix. Labels didn’t help. For whatever reason, it is gaps like that that my brain chooses not to jump over. I get stuck. I can sit there and hold both bottles (dishwashing liquid and DIY windex) in my hands and tell my brain over and over which is which, but until it decides to connect the dots, choosing dishwashing liquid over an ammonia mix can take me several minutes, every time. Still.
I also got lost while walking in Alabama Hills a couple of times. I would take a road (or a path) that I thought circled or went straight in and straight out, but I would end up having to climb rocks to get a good view and get oriented toward camp again. The very first pic in this blog post is of such an instance. I never went all that far, at least not like we used to, but the furbabies and I got very hot and disoriented one time so it was disconcerting.
A lot of the time it would just be silly things I would do – nothing life threatening, but I could tell things weren’t right in my head. (And yes, you can laugh about that. I do. Humor helps.) For example, one morning I was feeding the dogs. It was taking forever and I knew something was wrong with the way I was doing it, but I couldn’t figure it out. It turns out that I was using a teaspoon to scoop the dog food instead of their scoop. That’s not a big deal by itself, but the fact that I couldn’t figure it out was what bothered me. Yes, humor helps.
A lot of people tell me they have brain burps all the time. I suppose the difference is, for me, that I have to concentrate every waking moment of every single day to minimize them. Nothing gets to be involuntary or automatic anymore. I have to think about everything.
The Rest of the Story
I spent a lot of time alone in the Alabama Hills because Colvin would get frustrated and just leave. As my stress level increased I even found myself screaming at Colvin – all in frustration and fear, and totally out of character. (Those of you who know me can vouch for that.) I’ve read a lot about dementia and Alzheimer’s, and my sister has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so I'm very familiar with the progression of those illnesses, but no one knows what to expect long-term with my brain injury. So, to be honest, I was getting really scared that my symptoms were escalating out of control much like dementia or Alzheimer's. Loss of temper and/or rage can be signs of final stages in brain disorders so I couldn’t help but wonder if my days of being independent were coming to an end.
I left Alabama Hills on May 5, and Colvin and I split for good on May 10. After that, I had a month of horrible symptoms but I am happy to report that my symptoms seem to have stabilized. They’re worse than when I hit the road last year, but so far they are manageable (more to come on that). For now, I just want to say that I have never felt more blessed or more loved in my life than I do these days.
I know without a doubt that I would be in assisted living if it weren’t for the loving, wonderful people in my life I call my tribe. You know who you are. Thank you for getting me through all of this. Thank you for being patient with me as I learn what I can do, what I can’t do, and who I am as it continually changes. My light shines bright today, and as always, life is good – no matter what.
Live the life you want to live - now. Namaste.