California
Michael Ellis

Hey is California a great place or what? Here are a few of the superlatives about my adopted homestate. The lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is at Badwater in Death Valley at 282 below sea level. This is also one of the hottest and driest place on Earth. A scant fifty miles away is the highest point in the contiguous US, Mt. Whitney at 14,876. The Owens Valley on the east side of the Sierra is the deepest valley in North America. It is bounded by mountains that rise two miles above it. The oldest lake in North America is Mono Lake, it may be 1 million years old. The largest volcanic eruption in geologic history occurred outside Mammoth Lakes in the Long Valley Caldera. Debris equal to the size of Mt. Shasta, was blown into the atmosphere in a cataclysmic explosion 3/4 of a million years ago. Tallest living thing on the planet? A coastal redwood growing in Humboldt measured at 376′ high. Largest living thing is a giant Sequoia named the General Sherman tree in the Sequoia National Park. The first branch on this tree is bigger than any tree in the eastern US. Oldest living thing is a bristle cone pine nearly 5000 years old, the Methalusa tree, located high in the White Mountains just east of Bishop. But scientists have also identified a clonal group of creosote bushes in the western Mojave that has been continuously growing since the end of the last ice age, that is for about 11,700 yrs! Yosemite Falls is easily the highest waterfall in North America. The deepest submarine canyon is in Monterey Bay, dwarfing the Grand Canyon. The largest seabird colony south of Alaska is on the Farallon Islands, just off the San Francisco coast. Greatest number of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states? Tule Lake north of Shasta. Greatest concentration of ducks, geese and swans in North America is along the Sacramento River near Yuba City. It is amazing to me that all of this is found in one state California. I feel truly blessed to live here.

This is Michael Ellis with a Perspective.

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November 18, 2010