Ron & Elena's 2012 & 2013 Travels travel blog

View of the Snake Valley about 4,000 feed below. They sky has...

Thank you Mr. Mather!

Wheeler Peak (13,063') is the more distant jagged peak. We'll be hiking...

Another view of Wheeler Peak with some zoom.

Sign at the start of our hike.

Small creek that runs through Wheeler Peak campground.

View of the Wheeler Peak area from the trail.

Amazing trees.

Sign that refers to the tree in the following photo.


Bristle cone pine tree.












Engelmann spruce.

Limber pine - color doesn't match description because of lighting.


Bristle cone pine.

Wheeler Peak area from the trail.

Scientists can take core samples from tree trunks without damaging the tree....


It's spring up here above 10,000' and there is new growth on...



And this old tree is still living and growing.

Many parts of the tree look dead but wherever there is bark...

A pair of "young kids" standing by a very old tree.

Wheeler Peak on the right as seen from the trail to the...

Area called a "rock glacier" where the ice glacier deposited the rocks...



Snake Valley about 6,000' feet below is obscured by wildfire smoke.

First snow ball I've had in my hand for a very long...

Wheeler Peak from the trail at the point we turned back.

New growth on a Bristlecone pine tree.

Cones stay on tree for three years.

We saw only a few flowers at the higher elevations.


Back down at the Bristlecones where we stopped for lunch.


Elena played with the camera while I finished my lunch.

And she took some very nice photos.




There is so much beauty in these very old trees.

A few more photos as we hike back down the Bristlecone trail.


Dead or alive these trees are beautiful and interesting.




Elena on the trail.



Good trail, nice weather, great hike

Start of our side trail to Teresa Lake.

Beautiful setting for the Alpine lake but the level is way down...

Butterfly at Teresa Lake.



The lake is also very shallow.

We are staying at the lowest campground in Great Basin NP, Lower Lehman Creek, which is at 7,300’ elevation. This morning we drove on up the park road to explore the higher country. A short distance up the road is the Upper Lehman Creek campground at about 7,750’. We drove around that campground just to see what it is like. It’s a larger campground but the sites are smaller than where we are camped.

The park road is very steep with an 8% grade that goes on for several miles. Our next stop was the Mather Overlook where we had a nice view of Wheeler Peak, which is 13,063’ and the highest point in the park.

Our next stop was the Wheeler Peak campground at the end of the park road. This campground is at 9,886’ and is the highest campground in the park. We drove around the campground to check it out – it’s a very nice campground with nice large well separated sites but it sure would be a long hard workout for Hercules towing Da Honu all the way up here and the nights get pretty cold up at this elevation.

We parked at the campground and left on a day-hike up to the Bristlecone pine grove. The trail was not very difficult but at this altitude any exertion feels like a lot of work.

The trail leads to a small area of the Bristlecone pine grove where there is a good variety of trees and a nice interpretive trail that is very educational. When we arrived we saw the same ranger who led our tour of Lehman Cave yesterday. He gave us a nice little personalized tour and answered our questions. Bristlecone pine trees are the oldest living things on earth – some nearly 5,000 years old! It’s easy to feel real insignificant when I stand next to a tree that’s 3,500 years old like the one we had our photo taken with - also makes us feel pretty young! That tree was probably a little seedling when Moses was born! It boggles my mind.

Extending beyond the Bristlecone grove is a trail that leads to the foot of the glacier on the slope of Wheeler Peak. We hiked about ¾ of this trail before the trail got very steep and dangerous so we decided to head back down. No sense risking a sprained ankle way up there.

On the way back down we stopped at the Bristlecone grove to eat our lunch before heading back down. Also on the return hike we took a short 0.1 mile side trail to Teresa Lake – a beautiful little alpine lake but the water level is very low this year.

It was a great hike totaling about 5.5 miles with about 1,200’ elevation gain. The weather was perfect – between the high 50’s and the high 60’s depending on elevation and time of day. We took way too many photos but it is difficult to stop shooting when there are so many beautiful sights to record and remember. Some day when we are too old to do this anymore, maybe we’ll have fun reading our journal, looking at the photos and reliving the experience in our minds.

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