Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ancient Bristlecones

On our way back from Arizona, Rakesh and I spent a night in the White Mountains of California. These are home to some of the oldest living things on the planet, the Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva).

Found at an altitude between 8000 and 11000 feet, these slow growing pines have survived millennia of wind, snow and sun. Some of these trees were saplings when the Egyptians were building their pyramids.

The wood decays very slowly, this piece is many thousands of years old

The climate is very dry, the primary moisture coming from snow melt in the spring. The soil is made of a rocky limestone which is very alkaline. The Bristlecone Pine has evolved to grow where very few other species can survive.

I have never hugged something that is 4000 years old before

Even the oldest pines continue to produce pollen and seed. There are two colors of cone, the purple being the most common but if you look hard enough, there are green cones as well.

We also found the remains of a mining camp, always fun to explore the history of California.

This mine went on for a long time, I didn't go to the end, it started to get a bit sketchy.

Sunset over the Sierras

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lori Bday

Happy Birthday Lori!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Leavitt Meadows Trailhead to Fremont Lake

Despite being sick I decided it would be a good idea to get out and do some backpacking this past weekend. I felt like I was starting to get better and I thought that lots of fresh air and exercise would help me to recover.

Group Photo

Maybe not the best idea, or maybe I just underestimated this cold virus (I think it was a cold). I ended up having a great time but I came back feeling worse than when I left. The headache was gone, but the sore throat persisted, the hacking cough intensified and I got pretty stuffed up. Real rest was probably the better solution.

Phlox caespitosa Nutt. - Tufted Phlox   (AKA Phlox douglasii)

Part of it was that this "easy" hike ended up being more stressful than I anticipated. A few of our group members ended up getting lost on two different occasions, we had to do some cold water crossing, the truck kept overheating both on the way there and the way home, and I tossed and turned at night.

We had to wade across this, fortunately, where we crossed was a little less intense

But, I don't regret going, I had never been in the Hoover Wilderness before and I haven't been backpacking for a couple of months, so I was getting impatient!

Juniperus occidentalis subsp. australis - Sierra Juniper

Nice group of people, most of them were new to me but everyone seemed to be in good spirits despite the set-backs.

Sunset at Fremont Lake

Here is a little video of me crossing a side stream, it looked like it was going to be more dangerous than it was (Thanks Jacob):