Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
This is not to be missed. We saw the oldest trees on the planet. They grow only at selected high elevations because they don't compete well with other trees. But because of this location, they grow very slowly. Scientists count the rings and have determined that the trees are thousands of years old. They have used the ring spacing pattern to date the trees and other trees in Native American reservations, and to confirm carbon dating. Yes, they are that old.
We first stopped at the visitor center which was closed due to COVID-19 but since we had been there before, we knew what to expect. The information signs are excellent. The visitor center is at the end of a paved road at 9,846 feet elevation. We walked the one mile Discovery Trail, which took us past Bristlecone Pine and Limber Pine, the only trees to grow here.
We then drove up the dirt road another 13 miles to the Patriarch Grove at 11,300 feet elevation. The Patriarch Tree is the largest Bristlecone Pine tree. We walked the trail past this tree and many others in the area. It is quite a sight to see these very old trees.
On the road to the Schulman visitor center, there is a viewpoint that provides a stunning view of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. And we learned that we can see much the same view from spots along the road. We didn't see this on the way up the road as we were looking the wrong direction, but we couldn't miss the view when driving back down the road.
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Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.