Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 355: Extreme

Great Basin National Park isn't your average family oriented National Park. It's basically designed for backpackers, professional hikers and survivalists. Starting at 6,000 ft and climbing to 12,000 ft (with a glacier to boot) it is basically one long, winding, thin road to the base of Mt. Wheeler. The road stops at 9,000 ft. which is where we stopped too. I don't do well with heights, or altitude, and this was my limit. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see the ancient Bristlecone Pine forest since the trail to the anticipated forest involved a 4 mile hike through snow at over 9,000 ft. Who knew! We did find this lovely young Bristlecone Pine tree in the parking lot of the visitors center (6,200ft), but were told it would only live to around 100-150 years since it isn't in the "stressed" environment that these trees needs to thrive. In such conditions they can live to be over 4,000 years old. We are going to seek out more of these mighty pines in California next week in the White Mountains. Perhaps we will have better luck.

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