Our first challenge was to drive the 660 miles to the White Mts. We broke that up with an overnight stop in Reno, Nevada. Then with an early start the next day, we covered miles and by afternoon began the winding, scenic drive into the Inyo National Forest near Big Pine, California. We headed for the Crooked Creek Research Station (CCRS) of the University of California, located at 10,150 feet elevation. That was our home for the next four nights. We enjoyed the nice accommodations and well-prepared meals by the resident cook.
Our first hike, an easy 5 miles, was the Methuselah Trail which wound through a bristlecone pine forest. This forest was unlike any others we had seen, as the trees had living branches on one side and exposed wood on the windward side. Yet every tree was beautiful and different in appearance from the others. The oldest living tree on Earth, over 4,800 years old, and named “Methuselah,” was located somewhere on this trail (but is not identified to protect it from vandalism).
The next day we drove higher, to 11,300 feet, and took a short hike to see the “Patriarch tree.” This tree has the distinction of having the largest girth of all the bristlecone pines. We continued to an open ridge for lunch and a spectacular view to the west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains with their many snow-capped peaks and ridges.
The next day, Russ, Ferda, Dave and Scott drove up the road to a closed gate at 11,680 feet where they began the hike to White Mt. Peak, which is 14, 246 feet in altitude. Their hike followed a gravel path for seven miles, and they all made it to the summit. Russ and Ferda live in Turkey, and do a lot of hiking in Europe; we were glad to have them join us. The rest of us hiked along Crooked Creek for about 5 miles and enjoyed great scenery.
After leaving our very accommodating home at CCRS, we headed north but detoured to Convict Lake, elevation 9,000 feet, for a short hike with beautiful scenery. We spent the night in Carson City, Nevada and returned home the following day.Members: Alan Curtis, Evelyn Nagy, Dan Christensen, Nikki Frank, Sam Tracer, Scott Hovis, David Lodeesen, Steve Adey, Marsha Barr. Nonmembers: Russ Bailey, Ferda Bailey, Zack Marin, Silva Marin.
Looking North from the summit of Blanco Mountain, is White Mountain in the distance. The next morning, 4 Obsidians would climb to its 14,246 foot summit.—photo by David Lodeesen
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