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#12014 - 03/24/11 07:59 AM Bristlecone Pines
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
Has anyone been to these? I'd love to take a trip but not too sure what to expect, would love to hear of anyones experiences if they have.

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#12016 - 03/24/11 08:18 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 575
Loc: Manchester, NH
It's well worth the effort. The road is paved to the Shulman Grove. Read the plaques around the parking area, and then take a walk for an hour or two along one of the many paths to better understand the life of those pines. If you want more, you can drive further to the Patriarch Grove. This part of the road is unpaved, and has sharp rocks, so keep that in mind.

Don't know quite when the Shulman Grove will be open, as it's rather high and gated several miles earlier, but the Inyo NF could tell you. Because this is a rather remote area, we always plan a full day for the trip, and we live much closer than you do.

Bristlecone pines are found elsewhere as well, but not in the concentration as found there. If you hike Telescope, you'll pass a few near the summit stretch. They bear a close resemblance to another pine - Limber, IIRC.


Edited by KevinR (03/24/11 08:20 AM)

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#12018 - 03/24/11 08:32 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: KevinR]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1245
Loc: Atlanta
What Kevin said. We hiked the Methuselah Trail last year (a 4-mile loop) and got a spectacular view of the Sierra at about the halfway point.

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#12032 - 03/24/11 02:30 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 728
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Sublatum
Has anyone been to these? I'd love to take a trip but not too sure what to expect, would love to hear of anyones experiences if they have.

It is a must do!!!!!!!!!

The BPs are something to behold.

Imagine standing next to a 3,000 year old BP, but try to stay on the trail so as to not disturb/disrupt the soil.

And whatever you do...don't forget to bring a camera. You will definitely get some great shots of the BPs.

If you are a photographer, I suggest taking the pics in BW so as to get the grain of the BPs.

You may never know that some of your pictures would be perfect for framing. And you can amaze your friends by telling them some story about that tree.

And if you are gearing up for Mecca West, it is a great acclimatization hike!

pssst...don't tell anyone, but I know where Methuselah is and I am not telling! I was lucky enough to be on the trail several years ago when a "certain individual" who was documenting the trees informed me. We walked off trail and there it was about 20 feet away from me. I was advised not to get any closer so as not to disturb the soil.

I made a promise never to tell anyone that I stood next to a 4,800+ year old tree. To this date I have kept that promise. Since that day, I have hiked the Methuselah Trail twice. When I get to the point on the trail, I stop look around to make sure no one can see me and venture off-trail a few yards to the tree. I could be in serious trouble if one of the rangers spot me, but to date I have been lucky. Both as in not getting caught and being able to see the oldest living thing on this third rock from the sun.

Here is a link, but the picture with the gentleman standing next to Methesulah, it is not that one, nor are the others shown.
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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#12035 - 03/24/11 04:20 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 625
Loc: OrangeCounty
Yes, I have visited the Bristlecone Pines. It's difficult to fathom how old these trees are. One finds themself standing before a Bristlecone Pine (BP) and begins to think back on all that has happened in recorded history back as far as this tree has been living and it really blows your mind.

I remember the road to the BP's being rather primitive and not paved. I was riding in a van with classmates on a Biology Field Trip. I remember thinking it sure would have been nice to have a 4-wheel drive. The road is bumpy, dusty, and heaven forbid if you have a flat tire because you're in the middle of nowhere and most cell phones don't get signals out there on that dirt road. You need to be aware of animals and drive cautiously because animals can step in front of cars quickly. I saw deer on the road and my current professor hit a Turkey Vulture when she was driving 80 miles per hour on those dirt roads (hearing that story made me rather...well...let's put it this way, I love animals and I don't believe in people doing 80 mph in wilderness areas - visit Germany and drive the Autobon if you have a need for speed).

Yes, a visit to the BP's is something you should put on your bucket list.

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#12036 - 03/24/11 04:26 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
I have a 4 door accord, is that too risky for the road do you think?

Also when is probably the best time do go see? Are there camp grounds near by?


Edited by Sublatum (03/24/11 04:27 PM)

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#12037 - 03/24/11 04:43 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 728
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Sublatum
I have a 4 door accord, is that too risky for the road do you think?

Also when is probably the best time do go see? Are there camp grounds near by?

I have seen cars like your Accord at the Barcroft gate! How in the heck did they get here? Anyhow, it can be done. The road is paved to Schulman.

From Schulman to the gate, that is your risk you will have to take. Got AAA? Don't know if cellphones work up there.

Anytime during the summer months! Heck, during the fall, too!

Grandview Campground. Camping is free! Fire rings. No water. Pit toilet. Bring TP! You have to purchase your own wood in the holy city of Big Pine. Bring warm clothing. Ain't seen no bears. Can be a bit chilly during the early morning but oh the alpenglow if you get up early in the morning to see "the range of light." Now, who said that? I got it written down here somwheres...

Set that digital to pano.
_________________________
Have fun and enjoy the Gr8 Yd Opn.

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#12043 - 03/24/11 06:34 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
You can get to the bristlecone forest no problem -- road is paved. Past that, the road is not paved if you want to get to the Barcroft gate, which is the trailhead for White Mountain.

If you go early in the season, the road to Barcroft may not be possible in a regular vehicle. However, they have an open house the first Sunday in August, and they try to get the road ready for that occasion. Last year, a friend and I did the trip on August 1 in a Volvo stationwagon -- high clearance would have been nice, but it was totally doable, and we saw some sedans doing it to.

One benefit of going the day of the open house is that they open the Barcroft gate so you can drive up to the lab. That means that the roundtrip hike to the summit of White Mountain is only 10 miles, rather than 14. But even if you go after the open house, you should benefit from the road work they do to prepare for it.

You can camp at Grandview if your goal is the bristlecones. Alternatively, you can car camp at the Barcroft gate if your plan is to hike up White Mountain. There is no water, but there was a pit toilet there last year at the time of the open house at least.

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#12045 - 03/24/11 08:35 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
I don't have any pictures of the Bristlecone Pines, but if you click this Google Images link, you will get a page full of pictures. Gives you a good idea of the treat you will see when you go.

Only I CAN show you a picture at the Barcroft gate from last year, March 14:


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#12046 - 03/24/11 09:24 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Steve C]
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
Amazing! I think i'll shoot for around august then, i'd love to get a view of these trees in person.

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#12051 - 03/25/11 05:08 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 662
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
If you go during the annual Barcroft open house weekend, you can drive all the way to the Mt. Barcroft Station. They have numerous lectures and displays of their work. It's well worth the extra effort to get there. But...I would recommend renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle in Bishop, instead of trashing your nice Accord.

We learned alot at last year's open house, including the amazing Blast Project.

The altitude at Barcroft Station is about 12,500. From the station you can hike to the summit of White Mountain Peak, which is just a little lower than the summit of Whitney. Check the following website for open house dates.

Here is the station's website: http://www.wmrs.edu/


Edited by Bob West (03/25/11 06:06 AM)

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#12053 - 03/25/11 05:28 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Bob West]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 575
Loc: Manchester, NH
According to their website, this year's open house is Aug 7, 2011.

This page says the "Hiking Day" is the Sunday before Labor Day which is would be Sept 4, 2011, but I'd confirm that with wmrsinfo@ucsd.edu before firing up the old fliver.

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#12054 - 03/25/11 06:28 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Ahh, pictures, that I can supply. Here are some pictures of the bristlecone pines I took on the weekend of the White Mountain open house last year, along with pictures of the road, White Mountain, etc. NOTE: while you do not need a permit to hike White Mountain, you do need a fire permit if you are going to have a camp stove at the trail head (the permit costs a dollar or so).






The dirt road to Barcroft gate (most of it was like this, but some of it was a little hairy)




Here is the Barcroft gate



Car camping at the Barcroft gate



On White Mountain



On White Mountain



The summit in view













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#12389 - 04/04/11 03:52 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: + @ti2d]
Rich Janowski Offline


Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: + @ti2d
[quote=Sublatum] being able to see the oldest living thing on this third rock from the sun.


Not sure that tree is the oldest living thing. According to this site, there are a few contender for the title. But regardless, it still must be something to see something that old, still alive.


Edited by Rich Janowski (04/04/11 03:53 PM)

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#12391 - 04/04/11 04:05 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Rich Janowski]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 575
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Rich Janowski
Not sure that tree is the oldest living thing. According to this site, there are a few contender for the title. But regardless, it still must be something to see something that old, still alive.


As you point out, there are other contenders. There are various creosote rings, including one about a mile from my house, that are thought to be in excess of 11,000 years old. A couple of years ago I read about ancient pines, IIRC, somewhere near the treezone in Norway, which tested older than the Bristlecones. However, these pines and creosotes are clonal plants, and I don't think the Bristlecones are.

FWIW - I've seen both old creosote rings and old bristlecones, and the bristlecones have my vote as the more impressive plant.

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#12404 - 04/04/11 09:15 PM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
+1 for the bristlecones smile

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#12412 - 04/05/11 05:24 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Steve C]
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
Silly question, but how far is this from Whitney?

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#12418 - 04/05/11 06:56 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 575
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Sublatum
Silly question, but how far is this from Whitney?


How far is what?

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#12419 - 04/05/11 07:00 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Sublatum]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
        77.3 miles -- 2 hours 5 minutes wink   (Link)


View Larger Map

Edit: The above map and associated directions/distance are from Whitney Portal to the Schulman Grove, where the pavement ends. Here is a Google Map showing the entire distance, which adds 16 miles of dirt road. Google calculates an additional 20 minutes. In reality, it takes about an hour. On this new map, if you zoom all the way in with Satellite view, you can actually see the parking lot with cars, the gate and the restroom.


Edited by Steve C (09/12/12 01:12 PM)
Edit Reason: Add second map.

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#12424 - 04/05/11 08:15 AM Re: Bristlecone Pines [Re: Steve C]
Sublatum Offline


Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 40
Loc: Orange Country, CA
Thanks Steve smile

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