Saturday, July 18, 2015
I woke up on Saturday a little tired. I didn’t set up camp until sometime around one in the morning. It was early and I wanted to check out the Ancient Bristlecone Pine National Forest near Big Pine, one of the numerous small towns on the way up Highway 395 into Yosemite.
The road up to the section of forest protecting 2,000 – 5,000 year old pines was twisting and fun. I reached the visitors center early in the morning. A few cars were parked already as I hit one of the trails. For the next few hours I passed through the forest. The bristlecone pine is a very distinct tree in my opinion. The trunk has deep grooves that twist upwards towards the branches. After a short time in to the hike I passed by old mining camps where cabins still stand in the forest. I wondered if I could live in a cramped space with equipment made for the search of gold.
As the trail climbed the mountain side I also wondered why I was so out of breath. Along the way I met Mike and Paula. They were taking a short four mile hike through the forest before heading towards White Mountain for the rest of the weekend. We hiked together for a while, talking along the way. That is when I found out why I felt out of shape. We were hiking above 10,000 feet. Being from Georgia that is out of my realm. Way out of my realm. After a few hours I looped back around to the visitors center and my car before heading on to the next destination. The parking lot was now full of cars and people just starting their own adventure at a majestic and awe inspiring spot in California.