Friday, August 17, 2007

Still playin' in the Sierras & HP #39

The past week was one of a lot of R&R post-JMT, first at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains, including, according to this website, Earth's oldest living inhabitant, the 4,700+-year-old "Methuseleh" tree. This tree, and many other very, VERY old trees, can be seen on a beautiful 4-mile loop hike from the visitors' center. For the safety of the tree, however, the Methuseleh is unmarked, i.e. "I saw it but didn't know exactly when!"

After a peaceful night of camping at the appropriately named Grandview campground--the view of the night sky, sunset and sunrise were, indeed, grand--the next couple of enjoyable days were spent at the Millers' in Ridgecrest. We were fortunate to be in town during the annual wine walk -- woo hoo! Then we were off for Mammoth and an overnighter over Duck Pass and Pika Lake. Neither ducks nor pikas were seen; however, some bear prints were finally spotted near Duck Lake! And in the morning the coyotes yipped and howled. :-)

Wednesday evening we headed back to the White Mtns., this time via the Nevada side, in order to climb the state's high point,
Boundary Peak, elevation 13,140 ft. This beautiful mountain is located in the Boundary Peak Wilderness, and other than a few grazing cattle, we had the place to ourselves -- I was the only person on the peak yesterday! (Contrast that with Mt. Whitney a couple of hours away, its hoards, the permitting system, etc.) The hike could be neatly broken into 3 distinct segments: 1) winding through sagebrush via what appeared to be predominantly cow paths, 2) ascending a rather long & steep scree slope reminiscent of Grant-Swamp Pass on the Hardrock course, and 3) navigating the fun, blocky ridgeline to the summit. To give some indication as to the steepness of the scree slope--which I actually really enjoyed--my time from car to summit was about 3 hours, while my time from summit to car was just over an hour! (Yeah, I ran down!) :) 11 more high points to go!!.... Maybe??

I write this from the Boyds' in Bishop, where we are staying for a couple of days. They are "parents" of two giant year-old bull mastiffs, a brother & sister. These dogs are HUGE (!) but incredibly gentle and sweet, and I am happy to be getting my doggie fix. Until next time...

1 comment:

Alpal said...

you sound so happy