Great Basin National Park
The Bristlecone Trail is a moderate, roughly 3 mile rocky hike at an elevation of 10,000-feet. It leads to an ancient grove of pine trees that have lived up to 5,000 years.
Bristlecone pines can live thousands of years in harsh environments. Exposed to extreme conditions, such as high winds, driving snow, ice storms, and freezing temperatures, they often assume fantastic assorted shapes. (plaque at trailhead)
Early on the trail we encounter an example of what can happen to a tree in extreme weather conditions:
I wish you could experience the heavy scent of the pine trees throughout the forest! Hundreds of pine cones, like the ones below, line the beginning of the trail. (As we continue they get smaller.) I pick some up and they leave their fresh, clean fragrance on my hands. Sap oozes from tree trunks and roots we have to step over as we continue.
So many multi-colored rocks!
Higher up, trees that cannot survive the harsh living conditions, litter the ground.
But the bristlecone still stands proudly.
Wheeler Peak peeks out.
And the rocks continue leading us in the right direction.
As we approach the ancient grove, we get a preview of what’s waiting for us.
To be continued…