Saturday, July 28, 2018

Trip to the "Magic Grove"

 In June I took the Nevada Conservation Corps crew I had been working with on thinning projects plus some Rangercorps interns up Mt. Washington to apply verbenone to limber pine seed trees. Seeds were collected several years ago to test for resistance to white pine blister rust. In case these trees are resistant, we want to keep them safe from mountain pine beetles. When mountain pine beetles enter a tree, they send out a pheromone called verbenone to signify when the tree is full of pine beetles. So if we apply a synthetic verbenone, then the beetles are fooled and go to other trees.

The first obstacle getting up Mt. Washington is a very steep and curvy road. We also came across a log down, but fortunately the NCC crew had a saw and was able to take care of that.

The views are marvelous! This is looking into Spring Valley and the Schell Creek Range.

We summited Mt. Washington and then went down the other side.

It's kind of steep. Steep enough there are very few plants.

But there were a few of these gorgeous Nevada primrose (Primula nevadensis).

Then we got down to the "Magic Grove" of bristlecones. These tortured trees live with extreme winds, few nutrients, and a short growing season. Despite that adversity, or maybe because of it, they manage to live for millennia.

This natural area is delicate and not visited by many. Those who do visit are reminded to be gentle.

We posed by the "Quarter Tree," which is featured on the Great Basin quarter.

There are a lot of other cool trees up there too.

After applying verbenone to the selected trees,

it was time to climb up Mt. Washington from the other side.

This little tree is raising the treeline on the mountain.

You can actually find pieces of old bristlecone wood even higher, indicating that when the climate was warmer, the forest moved up the mountain. Dendrochronologists have taken sections and tagged these pieces of wood to find out exactly when the trees lived. There's lots more info stored on these mountains than might appear at first glance. That's also why campfires above 10,000 feet aren't allowed in the park--these wood fragments are too valuable to be burned up.

And before we left the mountain, I had to get a photo of the highest elevation cave in Nevada--that slit on the mountain. It just goes down to some snow, there's not much to it. But the scenery is spectacular!

And what better way to end a gorgeous day than at Kerouac's, listening to the Front Porch Pickers.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates