One geographical feature of California that has always fascinated me: the Sierra Steppe.
As far as I know, there is no accepted name for the large expanse of grassland between the Central Valley and the Sierra Foothills. Perhaps it exists as an undeveloped continuation of the Central Valley. It’s as if we forget it exists, forever blocked out of our memories on our drives from the West to the East. But alas, we all must drive through it before reaching the mountains.
I love this stretch of land that claims nothing, evokes nothing, declares nothing, desires nothing. It is a humble stretch of useless soil, a rare untouched virgin pastureland about where cows dream. A purgatory that is neither farm nor forest, neither flat nor hilly, neither hospitable nor unkind. Merely blank.
I should confess: this stretch of grassland is only green during the winter rains (a common theme in this state). Usually, it is a golden brown. Perhaps in the summer, I will visit again and post a brown picture, but in the meantime, have another green one.
So much of the state exists to many an individual as an evil expanse of nothingness between where one is and where one wants to be. That is the story of this Sierra Steppe, as it is also the story of much of the Sierra itself. Between the farms of the Central Valley and the ski resorts and national parks of the High Sierra exist not only this remote, empty grassland, but also a lot of mountain nobody seems to care about.
And just for fun, here are a few pictures of Yosemite: