Monday, September 26, 2022

T Stands for Bristlecone Pines

 Hi everyone. Happy Tuesday and Happy T day to you.

I'm joining all the lovely ladies over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog for our Tuesday T post.

Several of you mentioned last week that you hoped I would show some more trip photos for T this week, so I will. Smile. (And I apologize this is a bit of a long post.)

 We always stop and take photos at the National Park signs, so here is me at our first National Park of the trip. That is why my finger is raised, to designate this is park #1. You might remember I mentioned Great Basin National Park is just over the Nevada Line, very close to Utah. It is so close that to get to the park from our hotel ( which was also in Nevada and that I showed you last week on T day) we had to drive from Nevada into Utah and then from Utah back to Nevada to arrive at the park. We also had to keep in mind there is a 1 hour time change between these 2 states.

One of the main attractions in Great Basin is Wheeler Peak.

You can drive up to 10,000 feet /3048 meters. At this point, there is a parking lot. From there you can  hike. The biggest attraction is to hike to  the bristlecone pines. 

photo courtesy of  the website for Great Basin National Park

Here's a bit of what Wikipedia says about the bristlecone pine trees:
The term bristlecone pine covers three species of pine tree (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus, subsection Balfourianae). All three species are long-lived and highly resilient to harsh weather and bad soils. One of the three species, Pinus longaeva, is among the longest-lived life forms on Earth. The oldest of this species is more than 4,800 years old,[1] making it the oldest known individual of any species.

And here is the page about them from the park website if you are interested: Bristlecone pines in Great Basin NP.

I was really interested in seeing these trees. Now the distance to them is not too far (only 1.5 miles /2.4 km up or 3 miles/4.8 km round trip on the direct trail or a little longer on the Alpine Lake trail), but for me, starting the hike at 10,000 feet was going to be a challenge. There is no place in New Hampshire with that elevation. In fact, my house is probably at best maybe 700 feet/213 meters  up in elevation from sea level. Since this was our first park, we really didn't have a lot of time to adjust to the altitude difference.

I was keeping hydrated, and I am used to walking several miles a day, so we were going to give it a try. I was a little more concerned about my husband, but as he kept saying, slow and steady wins the race.

Up we went.

There were some amazing views, but you should take notice those dark clouds filling in the sky in this next photo.

I must say on the way up, I did have to stop and catch my breath several times. (And luckily I never needed my asthma inhaler). 

Earlier along the trail, there was a split. If you went straight, it was 1.5 miles (2.4 km) up to the bristlecone pines. If you went to the right, past the alpine lakes, it was a bit longer. 

We were going to head straight, and then several people  who started hiking when we did, mentioned it was a steeper climb. We took their advice and off we went on the right hand trail towards the lakes.

We came to the first alpine lake. The water in the lake was low, but it was still a pretty spectacular view.
Notice the sky was  darker now, but a little rain wasn't an issue, so we continued along the trail towards the turn off for the bristlecone pines. The bristlecone pines  grow further up just beyond the treeline, in an area that is pretty wide open. This lake, as you can see, was still just  within the treeline.

Here's a photo from along the  next leg of the trail.

And then, just before we reached the second alpine lake, we heard  a loud rumble of thunder.  And then another. And then we had a bit of light rain.

Being at the furthest point of the trail, there was nothing to do but keep walking. At least we were under the cover of the forest around us.

And we came to the second alpine lake (there were 2 total). This one  was really dry.

And  we continued along the trail.

We finally reached the split in the trail where there was a sign  directing us further up the mountain to the Bristlecone pines.

I was hopeful that the storm had passed and that we could head up to the pines because we hadn't heard any more thunder in a while. Yes it was raining lightly, but the rain we were in wasn't exactly dangerous. (Like lightning that goes with the thunder would be.)

And then, just as we stood at the base of the Bristlecone pine trail, we heard the loudest boom of thunder of them all. My husband and I looked at each other. There was no real safe cover up at the Bristlecone pines, and we had been told by a ranger that morning not to go up if it was thundering. My husband said to me "There's our answer."  (whether we should head further up or to continue on back to the car).

And he was right, so we continued along the Alpine Lake trail, now going down towards the parking lot.

And even though we had to dash through the rain to get to the car when we got out of the forest,  of course, within a few minutes the sky was brightening.

You can see all the drops of water on the windshield before we started the car as well as the sun coming back out.

All I can say is that it makes another good travel story.
We were so close. And still so far.

(And if you didn't see but are interested, I did a post this past Saturday on the caves we visited in the park also.)

OK, I can't forget that this is a T day post and I need to share a drink.  I never took a photo of my water jug while hiking. Yet before our hike, while at the visitor's center, we had a sandwich and a drink. Most visitor centers don't have restaurants, but this one had a small one, so we decided to fuel up before our trek.

You can see my unsweetened ice tea, my grilled cheese BLT sandwich with avocado, as well as the homemade potato salad side that came with my sandwich. 

Thanks for making it this far through the post. I hope you have a happy T day and week ahead. 


Sharon Madson said...

BLTs are a favorite of mine. The park photos are great. I love to hike, looks like a great time. Happy T Day.

DVArtist said...

What a stunning post and I am on board with a BLT any day of the week.

Mae Travels said...

Your photos of the trail towards the pines (but not quite all the way) are beautiful. I also really love the cave pictures. That park looks great. I’ve been to Bryce, Zion, DInosaur, Arches, and some of the other parks in that area, but not that one.

best…. mae at

Angie's Recipes said...

Those pictures are so beautiful. I really love the lake view.

Iris Flavia said...

Great entry pic :-)
And wow to that tree! Beautiful! Nature is an artist!
And a miracle. What this tree has seen, I wonder. So old!

I hate mountains. I can run around flat places like ours endlessly, but mountains, gahhhh. Well done!
Sad view with the second lake.
BOOM?! Uh-oh, glad I am here to read about it!
Yummy food, too! Ice tea no more, it´s gotten cold.
So happy hot Tea day, hugs!

Valerie-Jael said...

Fabulous descriptions and photos of your tour, it must have been great to walk up there and and enjoy the nature around you. Your snack looks good, I haven't had a BLT sandwich in years, yummy! Thanks for sharing your photos, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing more! Hugs, Valerie

nwilliams6 said...

Wow, Erika. The pictures are beautiful. So sad you could not get to the trees - they sound fabulous, and I have never heard of them. Love that BLT - looks almost as fabulous as the scenery. Fab trip post! Happy t-day and hugz

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks, Erika, for sharing the photos of your trail hike. While it’s too bad that the threat of a rainstorm caused you to abandon the climb, it was still an enjoyable journey for those of us following along. Lunch looked good too!

CJ Kennedy said...

that was quite an adventure. Scenery is gorgeous and so different from the East Coast. Happy T Day

kathyinozarks said...

Wow awesome area to hike in with such gorgeous views. I always have loved the mountains-winters there not so much, and mountains do effect my asthma quite a bit Yellowstone air really got me back in 2017-wow that seems so long ago.
thanks for all the photos I really enjoyed seeing this park Hugs from the lake

Mia said...

I LLLLLLLLLOVE the photos, Erika!!!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I have seen the ancient cedars of the Niagara escarpment and I would dearly love to experience these ancient Bristlecone Pines. They are true wonders of nature. Hugs - David

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

So close, yet so very far away. How sad, but better to be safe than sorry. I enjoyed the walk, though. Beautiful country.

I love a grilled cheese sandwich and adding avocado and tomato would have made me very happy. I would even love to have a bit of bacon, too (grin_). It looks wonderful and so does the salad. I bet it went nicely with your iced tea. Thanks for sharing your hunt for the Bristlecone Pines and your sandwich and iced tea with us for T this Tuesday, Erika.

jinxxxygirl said...

Erika! Oh to have seen what you have seen!!! Traveling like that most likely will not be in my future.. But i have so enjoyed seeing your photos and reading about your journey.. Definitely better to be safe than risk that lightning.. i would have been so sad to not have seen the pines though.. So if you were very disappointed i feel ya.. Thank you so much for sharing! I'll have to go check out your cave post. Happy T day! Hugs! deb

Carola Bartz said...

The hike up on Wheeler Peak is a great one and so sad that you weren't able to make it to the Bristlecones. But better safe than sorry - I would have turned back as well. The Bristlecones are truly magical. There is another place east of the Sierra where there are some really old Bristlecones, but it's quite a drive up there. It looks despite not seeing the Bristlecones you had a wonderful time in Great Basin. I think it's a very interesting national park and I would like to visit again.

Divers and Sundry said...

Gorgeous views! What a shame you didn't make it all the way, but "better safe than sorry" I always say. It makes for a great story, doesn't it!

Happy T Tuesday

Empire of the Cat said...

What an amazing place Erika! A good idea to turn back I think, wouldn't like to get stuck there in bad weather. I've never seen those trees before, they look very intriguing, and I like that T-shirt too! Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

Let's Art Journal said...

I so enjoyed hiking with you today! The views and scenery is breathtaking, it looks like you had a wonderful adventure 😊. Now your BLT with avocado looks so delicious - yum! Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

Kate Yetter said...

Your meal looks delicious and I love the printed parchment that they served it on.
The views are stunning! That is great that you were able to hike and see the park. I have never heard of that pine tree but the picture of the single tree is so interesting. Definitely a tree that would make a great painting.
Happy Tea Day,

Jeanie said...

Love the photo of the raindrops on the windshield! What spectacular views, Erika. And yes, probably a good thing you headed back down after that big boomer. But what a glorious day! I love seeing these images and hearing about this trip.

Lisca said...

Thank you so much for taking me to Bristlecone Park. What a beautiful area. What an incredible tree! I too would have loved to see it. But you were quite right to turn back. Lightning on the mountain can be very dangerous. (I know from personal experience).
I'll have a look at your post from Saturday to see the caves.
To answer your question: Yes, the ferry goes non-stop from England to Spain. On the way up we sailed from Santander to Portsmouth (30 hours, an afternoon, a night and a whole day, arriving in the evening). On the way back we went from Portsmouth to Bilbao. We sailed in the evening and spent one night, one whole day and then another night, arriving early in the morning. 31 hours. I loved it, especially the two nighter as the cabin and the bunks were sooo comfortable.
Happy T-Day,

Lisca said...

I'm sorry I'm so late but I had already commented and my comment just got lost in the ether! I must make a habit of copying my comments as it happens quite often and I get annoyed having to type it all over again. It had been a lengthy comment...
Thank you so much for taking me to Bristlecone Park. What a beautiful area, and what a fascinating tree! You did right to turn back. Lightning in the mountain can be very dangerous. (I have personal experience). I'll now go and have a look at your Saturday post about the caves.
To answer your question: Yes, the ferry goes non-stop from Spain to England. On the way up we sailed from Santander. We spent an afternoon, a night and the next day on the ferry, arriving in Portsmouth in the evening (30 hours). On the back we left Portsmouth in the evening and spent two nights on the boat and arrived in Bilbao early in the morning of the second day (31 hours). I loved the two nighter. The cabin and the bunks were so comfortable and the food was great (French food). The two harbours in Spain are Santander and Bilbao, and the two in England are Portsmouth and Plymouth. We usually go to Portsmouth but have sailed to Plymouth once as hubby's sister lives there and we visited. Santander and Bilbao are not far from one another so it doesn't matter which one we choose, but the distance between Portsmouth and Plymouth is quite big and the roads are awful (no highways).
Happy T-Day,