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Friday, August 22, 2014

Great Basin National Park...



featuring hikes to Wheeler Peak and a visit to a senior citizen bristlecone pine grove.

It was bad hair windy day on top of this 13,063' sky island summit. I guesstimated the temps to be in the mid-30's with the wind chill. What the heck! It's still August! 

I managed to shoot a few pretty scenes, without the camera being yanked out of my hand by that invisible force. As you can see from the photo of me and the mailbox, the US Post Office delivers to the darnedest places. (No wonder they are going broke!) 

From the saddle one could make out the green landing pads for earth-bound UFO's. Great Basin is very close to route# 375. (AKA the Extraterrestrial Highway).

I had to then pay a visit to some of the oldest living things on the planet. 
Here below the summit of Wheeler Peak at the cusp of tree line stands an ancient grove of Bristlecone Pines. Many of these true survivors are said to be 3500-4000 years old. 

There's a sad tree tale in this locale too. 
In 1964, Donald R. Curry, a grad student doing research on the Little Ice Age, received permission to cut a specimen down to obtain its true age from the cross section. This was after two of his inclement borers broke inside this crusty pine. The tree was felled and the ring counting began. The result was the ultimate "OH! S--T!" They had killed the oldest organism in the world! The pine was said to be 5000-5200 years young until this egghead showed up.

The tree was named Prometheus. August 7th, 2014 marked  the 50th anniversary of its demise. People from all over the U.S. gathered in Great Basin to pay tribute to one spectacular tree. If I had known, I would have made an effort to be here too.

Bristlecones know that slow and steady wins the race. People can learn a lot from trees.

It's raining here BTW. 
Good night Prometheus,


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