Thursday 18th September, 2014
Great Basin NP is a wonderful place. Our campsite is at 7300 ft. We are camped next to a fast flowing stream which makes for lovely night music. After a drive to the end of the park road, reaching 10,000 feet, we had a great hike to an ancient stand of Bristlecone pine trees. Dean looks like such a young whipper snapper leaning on this skeleton.
That’s a tree hugger for you.
This tree is 3000 years old and still sending out new growth.
The cones are sending out a lot of sap at the moment.
I think I saw at least 20 different types of mushrooms on a wooded trail.
This shroom looks like polished wood but was quite delicate.
This pair have almost busted through.
The distant peak is the beast we are planning on hiking up in a couple of days when we have acclimated to the elevation.
O.K today is the big HIKE. Our goal is Wheeler Peak at 13,100 ft. We start at 10,000 ft. The route we took was a 10 mile round trip. Most of the elevation gain was the last 1000 ft. We did this same hike when we were a frisky 56 and it was a killer. Why are we doing it again 6 years later? Dean of course! He persuaded me that we are not at the bottom of the old age slippery slope yet, just poised at the top. I’m more of the mind I am halfway down.
After bellying up to the ibuprofen bar and packing plenty of water and grub we were off. A mile in and still it looks too far away.
Now it’s trudge time up the rocky trail. One foot after the other……..
Several people overtook us (mostly youngsters) especially as we got closer to the top as I had to stop every few minutes to get my breath back. This hike on my iPhone “Moves App” shows 14 stops on the last section of the trail alone and only 2 on the whole way down. No gasping for breath on the way down.
We made it! 2½ miles high. Must admit I felt pretty pleased with myself. Remember that Queen song “We are the Champions”? Well, we felt like the geezer champions anyway.
Even with the somewhat cloudy, hazy skies the 360 degree views were great.
After a nice long rest, some lunch and another dose of the good stuff, it was time to head back. After wobbling our way back to the camper, we had a nice warm shower and veged out on our couches with adult beverages. The shower is one of the great thing about having our house with us.
The next day was REST day. Dean cooked up a smashing breakfast and those mimosas were pretty tasty too.
On our rest day we attacked a few pinyon pine trees with sticks to knock loose some pine nuts.
After banging the nuts free from the extremely sappy cones, we still had to extract the white nut goodness from the hard brown shell. We managed to get about ½ pound of nuts before we decided it was too much work. No wonder these nuts cost so much at the store.
The quaking aspens were starting to turn yellow.
So many of the trunks were twisted and curly.
We both quaked with delight on our colorful aspen hike. We like those trees so much we color coordinated with them.
A lovely week of warm days and chilly nights. We had plenty of fires and enjoyed looking at the night skies. Great Basin is famous for the clear dark skies and the Milky Way was on display right above our heads every night.