Friday, September 23, 2016

Bristlecone Pines - Patriarch Grove

Wow... cool... AWESOME...

I literally lost track of how many times we said WOW or COOL or AWESOME!!! while exploring the Bristlecone Pine forest.  It seems impossible but literally around every bend in the trail there is an even more amazing tree than the countless ones we had already seen.  It felt kind of superfluous to keep repeating these words over and over, but the environment warranted their excessive use. 

The photos I posted earlier today were from the Schulman Grove of Bristlecones in the White Mountains of California, which is located at the end of the paved portion of the road that accesses the area.  The Schulman Grove is at an elevation of roughly 10,000 feet and contains the oldest known Bristlecone which is approximately 4,500 years old.  After spending the morning and early afternoon in the Schulman Grove we drove up to the Patriarch Grove, which contains the world's largest bristlecone pines.  The Patriarch Grove is at an elevation of about 11,000 feet and at the end of a rough 12-mile dirt road but is well worth the drive!

We arrived at the Patriarch Grove a couple of hours before sunset.  There are two short 1/2 mile trails that wind through the trees and there are several AMAZING trees on these walks.  We found two that we really liked and decided to focus our time on those for photography as sunset drew near.  We ended up having one of the best sunsets of the trip at Patriarch Grove.  Some clouds had been moving through all afternoon, which hung around until sunset.  Clouds had been nonexistent on the trip up to this point.  Just as the best clouds were approaching behind the trees, beautiful rays of sunlight began to streak across the sky from behind the clouds.  I couldn't have asked for a better sky to go along with our visit to this unbelievable place! 

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