The Impact of Sunlight on Apparent Air Quality

Looking North

These two images weren’t taken exactly from the same spot at the same time. But it was close. The huge difference in air quality is only apparent, with the direction relative to the sun being the primary difference between the two. The top photo looks across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (note the fog bank) and into the hazy distant view of Vancouver Island. Below looks south towards the Upper Graywolf valley and the Olympic Mountains. Backlighting the haze really makes it stand out.

Looking South

Eldred Rock Lighthouse

Eldred Rock Lighthouse

The Eldred Rock Lighthouse is located in Southeast Alaska between Juneau and Haines on Lynn Canal. It is an automated light, so I guess it isn’t really a ‘house’. I took this from the Alaska Marine Highway ferry on a trip to Haines to visit my Aunt. It was May and this was the amount of snow left on the mountains. I did not come back this way, but drove back down the Alaska Highway … a wonderful trip, if you have the time and are interested in being impressed with just how big the country is up there and how far apart towns are.

Below is a photo of Haines as we were sailing past to get to the ferry terminal north of town. When I lived there one winter in the mid-’70’s, I lived just at the foot of the hill on the right edge of the photo. It had a spectacular view of the water and mountains.

Haines, Alaska from the Ferry

Bee Hive Kilns

Bee Hive Kilns

These interesting structures are ‘bee hive kilns’ are found in Death Valley National Park and were used to create charcoal for smelting ore that was found locally. (This was back in the early 1900’s)

They are found high in the mountains where there were pines growing to make satisfactory charcoal. Unfortunately, the pines are very slow growing (not much water), and the trees that you see in the background are junipers that have taken the place of the pines. The claims ran out or became too expensive to work to justify the costs of working in such an inhospitable environment. The kilns were left, along with the destruction of the pine forest for miles around.

Fossil Falls

Fossil Falls

Fossil Falls Recreation Site is on Highway 395 between Lone Pine and Ridgecrest, California.

There aren’t any fossils, except the falls. An interesting geological feature. A good example of differential weathering.

Bristlecone and Rock

Bristlecone and Rock
Bristlecone and Rock 2

This Bristlecone Pine was growing right on top of a rock pile. My guess is that at one point in the past, the soil was present on top of the rock and has since eroded. The erosion of soil around the root systems is one of the causes of death for bristlecones. That’s one of the reasons that they request visitors to stay on the pathways: to keep erosion to a minimum.

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