Sunday, June 29, 2014
Hike 2014.035 -- Bristlecone Trail, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, NV
On your way here, you'd have passed the signed "Lower Bristlecone Trailhead, about .8 miles before. The trail from that point would be a road grade; during the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration put men to work building a road through the mountains. When the War broke out, the project was shelved in favor of things with higher priorities and greater national security importance.
From the upper trailhead, the trail runs along a low ridge, overlooking the base of the ski resort. Some of those runs look pretty steep!
Also lots of a purple flower that didn't photograph well, small white, fragrant flowers, something that looked like very small aster, and a few other flowers.
Descrip-tions online also mention that this trail is heavily used by all. When I started, at about 8am, I made it all the way from the upper trail-head to the junction with the Bonanza Trail. Probably saw no more than six bicyclists and a like number of hikers.
BTW, I guess I haven't mentioned why this is called the Bristlecone Loop. Yes, there are bristlecone pines, here. Lots of them. Most are healthy and green, and look nothing like you pictures bristlecone pines to look like.
But there is one ridge, maybe 1 1/2 miles from the upper trailhead, where a number of tree skeletons still stand, looking very much as you *do* expect them to look.
Incidentally, there are interpretive signs at the trailhead that tell you how to identify bristlecone pines: Their needles are in bunches of five, and they grow off in all directions from the branch, giving a sort of bottle-clearer look to the branches.
I hiked to the junction with the Bonanza Trail. The trail sign there said it was two miles back the way I came to the upper trail-head, or three miles forward to the lower trail-head. Those are approximate distances, I'm sure. The Forest Service says the full look is 6.2 miles.
I'm giving my distance covered roundtrip as four miles. It might have been a bit more, but that's what I'll go with. The remainder of the look forward didn't look that interesting, I didn't want to have to walk on pavement, and I had an engagement to make later that afternoon.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
I had very high hopes for multiple hikes on this trip (Friday, May 30 - Sunday, June 1). I was driving out to Las Vegas on a Friday, driving down to Mojave Preserve on Saturday, then back home on Sunday. I was thinking two, maybe three hikes for the weekend. Instead, I got zero.
The next star party's going to be on Saturday, November 1, 2014, in case you want to start planning your fall hikes already. :D
and I come across this site. It does not it is "difficult" for non-4wd, but that it is accessible by all vehicle classes. I spent some time looking at google maps satellite imagery to match the description up with actual photos of the route, and it looks pretty straightforward.
So I used my arms and hands to clear a path in the sand and got rolling forward, again.
So then I decide, well, better turn around, because I've got another six miles of road, and this isn't even the tough part. And I'll have to drive back on this, too.
This was my experience in a Saturn L200. It's what I would consider to be a midsized car, with a fairly long wheel base and skinny tires. Driving something with a shorter wheelbase, slightly higher clearance, wider tires, and NO traction control MIGHT give you more success.
As for me, I'm planning to wait until fall, then just park my car near the start of Aiken Mine Road wand walking the 14 miles or so to the petroglyphs. This might also prove too difficult, since walking on sand means a lot of wasted energy. But, for me, it's either this or wait until I have four wheel drive.
Obviously the pictures on this post are all from the star party, and none are from my unsuccessful hike attempt. As I ssid, the star party went great. :D
Saturday, June 7, 2014
I haven't been hiking that much recently. Even more so, I haven't had time to blog what few hikes I have been taking. As I write these words, this was the last one I took, although I may hike again before I actually get this posted. I have 3 or 4 other hikes that remain to be blogged.
Most recently was back in March, when the water was slightly higher and I had my new telephoto lens to take some nice close-ups of the falling water.
I anticipated very low water, and had no other expectations about what else I might see. I just wanted to get myself a little walk in the woods, it having been far too long since my last hike. One thing I did decide to do was, rather than going to the base of the falls, I would stay on the lower Gabrielino Trail, which leaves the canyon just before Fiddler's Crossing, and heads just above the lip of Sturtevant Falls.
This was the first mariposa lily I had seen on this side of the San Gabriel Mountains so far this year. Of course, admittedly, I have not been doing much hiking this year.
Humboldt lilies are large and showy, and look so dramatic that it's hard to believe they're not part of someone's garden. Yet, while rare compared to many other wildflowers, I have seen them on several other hikes in southern California, including Lewis Falls and Topanga State Park.
Those two flower finds made me even happier that I managed to drag myself out of the house this day to get a little bit of mountain trail under my feet.
While overlooking the falls, I saw a flyfisherman. I don't really approve of fishing places where the water is so low and going to get lower and warmer, since the native trout there are already living on the edge, and don't need the additional stress of being caught and released.
About four miles for the day. Not much, but it was still nice to get out in the mountains, if only for a few hours. Got back to my car and drove out the gate at 7:57pm, just three minutes before the gate is ostensibly looked. Numerous cars and day hikers remained behind me, so either they got locked in, or they knew when the gate would actually be locked.