Bishop Field Office

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Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra & Death Valley
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Natural History: General

  • Death Valley National Park:
    An Interpretive History
    James W. Cornett
    1996, Death Valley Natural History Association
    A good overview illustrated with great color photographs.
  • Death Valley Geology, Ecology, Archaeology
    Charles B. Hunt
    1975, University of California Press
    Informative text illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
  • California's Eastern Sierra: A Visitor's Guide
    Sue Irwin
    1991, Cachuma Press
    Natural and human history and regional overviews, lots of information and beautiful color photographs.
  • Deepest Valley: A Guide to Owens Valley, its Roadsides and Mountain Trails
    Jeff Putnam and Genny Smith, editors
    1995, Genny Smith Books
    A favorite now in its sixth edition, with sections written by the local experts on geology, history, flora and fauna from Bishop to Little Lake.
  • Natural History of the White-Inyo Range
    Clarence A. Hall Jr., editor
    1991, University of California Press
    Here the local experts cover weather and climate, geology, plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and anthropology of these high desert mountains. Well-illustrated with line drawings and color photographs.
  • Deserts
    James A. McMahon
    The Audubon Society Nature Guides
    1985, Chanticleer Press
    A field guide to living things throughout North America's deserts - although not specific to our area, it has fascinating information on the biology of desert plants and animals.

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Geology

  • An introduction to the Geology of Death Valley
    Michael Collier
    1990, Death Valley Natural History Association
    A slim and lively volume with good diagrams and color photos.
  • Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley
    Robert P. Sharp and Allen F. Glazner
    1997, Mountain Press
    If anyone in your family loves geology you always travel armed with the appropriate guide from Mountain Press. On-the-spot coverage of scarps, gulches, dunes, domes, craters, calderas, turtlebacks, pinnacles, desert pavement and sailing stones.

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History

  • Death Valley to Yosemite:
    Frontier Mining Camps and Ghost Towns
    L. Burr Belden and Mary De Decker
    1998, Spotted Dog Press
    Includes the rip-roaring stories of several enterprises along the routes - Greenwater, Ashford Mill, Cerro Gordo, Kearsarge and Benton - along with colorful characters like Greenwater's Diamond Lil.
  • 101 Moments in Eastern Sierra History
    Dave Babb
    1999, Community Printing and Publishing
    A collection of interesting, odd and amusing vignettes for "Hey, list to this! bring-along fun.
  • Naming the Eastern Sierra: From Dirty Socks to Bloody Canyon
    Marguerite Sowaal
    1985, Chalfant Press
    Example: The popular story of the name Inyo (See Route1 Adobe PDF) may describe a mishearing, as there is no such word in the Paiute language. Chief George might have been using the Spanish "indio" in trying to make it clear that the mountains were Indian land!
  • The Water Seekers
    Remi Nadeau
    1997, Crest Publishers
    The story behind the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
  • Mine in the Sky
    Joseph M. Kurtak
    2000, Sheridan Books
    History of the Pine Creek tungsten mine.
  • Farewell to Manzanar
    Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
    1973, Houghton Mifflin
    This highly readable, eloquent little memoir tells what it was like for a Japanese-American girl and her family relocated to Manzanar during WWII. Unforgettable.
  • Desert Padre: The Life and Writings of Father John J. Crowley
    Joan Brooks
    1997, Mesquite Press
    Close-up of a lively personality who did much to make this region what it is today.
  • On Location in Lone Pine
    Dave Holland
    1990, The Holland House
    Tells the story of movie making in the Lone Pine area since 1920, with photos and maps of the locations.

Plants

  • Desert Wildflowers
    Edmund C. Jaeger
    1940, Stanford University Press
    A favorite field guide for the California deserts, with an easy-to-use key and fine, accurate line drawings of all the flowers. Bring this with colored pencils and color the ones you identify.
  • Desert Wildflowers of North America
    Ronald J. Taylor
    1998, Mountain Press
    A good field guide with color photographs identifying flowers found on most of the routes.
  • Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary
    Ronald J. Taylor
    1992, Mountain Press
    Like the book above but covering the higher-elevation sagebrush country found on many routes.
  • Death Valley Wildflowers
    Roxana S. Ferris
    1983, Death Valley Natural History Association
    A field guide to both color photos and detailed drawings to aid identification.
  • Trees of the Great Basin
    Ronald M. Lanner
    1984, University of Nevada Press
    Where to find them, how to identify them, and in-depth looks at how each tree species interacts in its peculiar environment. Attractive, detailed pen-and-ink illustrations.
  • Shrubs of the Great Basin
    Hugh N. Mozingo
    1987, University of Nevada Press
    As above but for shrubs, which are ubiquitous in this desert - learning about them is rewarding and you'll never call them all "sagebrush" again!

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Birds and Other Animals

  • Watchable Birds of the Southwest
    Mary Taylor Gray
    1995, Mountain Press
    A guide not only to bird identification but also the behaviors that make them fun to observe. The area covered includes Death Valley.
  • Watchable Birds of the Great Basin
    David Lukas
    1999, Mountain Press
    These birds can be found in most part of Inyo County and this book will help you identify and enjoy them.
  • Birds of the Great Basin
    Fred A. Ryser, Jr.
    Not a field guide but a fat, satisfying book on the lives and captivating habits of the region's birds.
  • Western Reptiles and Amphibians
    Peterson Field Guide by Robert C. Stebbins
    1985 Houghton Mifflin
    It's almost impossible to go out on a warm day in the desert without seeing a colorful or cleverly camouflaged lizard. This is a guide to identifying them, along with other scaly or slimy friends.

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Exploring

  • Death Valley SUV Trails
    Roger Mitchell
    2001, Track & Trail Publications
    A guide to 46 interesting four-wheeling excursions in Death Valley country. (Part of an SUV Trails Guide Series)
  • The Explorer's Guide to Death Valley National Park
    T. Scott Bryan and Betty Tucker-Bryan
    1995, University Press of Colorado
    A guide much like the one you're reading but with 382 pages on Death Valley alone.
  • Hiking Death Valley: A guide to its Natural Wonders and Mining Past
    Michael Digonnet
    1999, Quality Books
    Try this one when you're ready to leave the SUV and hi the trails.
  • Sierra Nevada Byways
    Tony Huegel
    2001, Wilderness Press
    50 of the Sierra Nevada's best adventure roads. (Part of a Byway Guide series.)
  • A Land Between: Owens Valley, California
    Rebecca Fish Ewan
    2000, Johns Hopkins University Press
    A thoughtful look at the connection between the ecology of a place - the interaction of living things in their environment - and its people.

 

Photo of Chidago Canyon petroglyphs