Friday, August 27, 2010

Hoppy Takes a Nap (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36° 36.610 W118° 07.460)

Some years back I came across a blog that had a picture somewhat like the first one below. It was actually a better picture and more direct to the point as to what I want to show here. It was his first time visiting the Alabama Hills and said that he must have seen this location in some old western. I told him that he was right about that, and I knew for sure that it was used in the first Hopalong Cassidy movie in 1935. I then proceeded to give him some of the worst instructions (face palm) on how to get to Gene Autry Rock.

This is one that I have delayed and delayed putting up on the blog since the beginning. It is an easy one to find, and most people have driven by it while driving on Movie Rd. Basically, you just follow Movie Rd. north, then when it turns right continue on the road, but look to the right and you should see the rock formations below.

You can walk at this point; I would not suggest taking this dirt road with a vehicle (off roaders can and do). We want the rock formations to the right.
This is what we are after.
You can see where he is resting.
Hoppy would have have taken a nap right here.
This is one of those areas that you have to come at the right time to avoid the shadows. This is part of the reason I have delayed putting anything up. My other problem is I thought I had better pictures than some of these above. If I ever find them I will come back and replace these.

I should mention that, in this scene in the movie, Hoppy is resting and hears a voice. Uncle Ben (played by Gabby Hayes) had just been shot in the previous scene. Unfortunately, he died before he could tell Hoppy the important information, but Uncle Ben had written the words "Thunder Mesa" in the sand. Hoppy, realizing that was the clue to where the bad guys hideout was, gets a posse together for the final confrontation at Thunder Mesa.

As side story, the last time I was here a year ago I was driving down Movie Rd. I decided I wanted to video the arch. The problem there, is that over the past few years since they added the tourist trail, it has become more well known and more people visit the Alabama Hills just to see that. So, I knew I would have to really work a bit to video it right without people showing up right as I was doing the video. I would have to time it carefully.

As I was driving along Movie Rd. I passed a bunch of cars. They were all going very slow along the road. I made the right turn and then proceeded to the big turnoff for the short trail to the arch. No one was there! Great! As soon as I stopped, everyone must have realized I knew where I was going. All the cars I passed decided to park there. So, I was not quite alone.

I decided to cross the road and do this location I showed above, along with a bunch of others I have shown this past year. There must have been about thirty people at that parking spot going off to the arch. I came back about an hour later for the video, but the footage was not what I wanted.

The Death of Uncle Ben (Youtube Version)

The Death of Uncle Ben (Vimeo Version)