Sunday, December 17, 2023

A Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Groves - Part 4 The Magic Grove

See Part 1 (Overview), Part 2 (Wheeler Cirque), and Part 3 (Mt. Washington) of the Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Pine Groves.

The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines in the Magic Grove are some of the most amazing in Great Basin National Park. Some people consider this grove, which is to the northeast of Mt. Washington, to be part of the Mt. Washington grove. It's a 45-60 minute hike down to the grove on a steep mountain slope with no trail and no trees, so I'm going to consider it as separate grove. A co-worker coined the name The Magic Grove, and while you won't find that on any map, it's one that has been adopted by many park employees and locals. 

To get there, it's a two-hour drive, including over an hour on a very rough, very 4WD road. Then it's about an hour hike down the side of a mountain with no trail. An alternate way to get there is to hike 6-7 miles up the Snake Divide Trail from the Snake Creek trailhead. Some of the trail is marked, and some of the trail is still a sparkle in someone's eye. 

One tree in this grove (the one pictured at the top of this post) is so iconic that it was chosen to grace the Great Basin quarter in the National Park series of quarters. It was issued in 2013, and there was a special ceremony and unveiling in the Park.

This particular bristlecone pine is over 1,400 years old. One of the reasons it stands out is that it is a little isolated from other bristlecone pines on the Magic Grove. 

I love the "Quarter Tree," but I also have some other favorites. This one may have started as several trunks that joined together. I believe it's over 2,400 years old. That means it started growing before the first Christmas! 

If you move to one side, you can frame Mt. Washington in the dead branches.

Here's a view of the same tree at night, the night sky photo that launched my photography hobby. The orange glow in the background wasn't visible with the naked eye, I only saw it with a 20 second exposure. It was from the Hampton Creek fire, and when I saw that, I realized I would never get a photo like this one again.

Sunrise is also an awesome time to admire bristlecone pines.

The early morning light enhances the wind-shaped wood. This particular tree that has fallen over is featured by one of the Great Basin National Park Artists in Residence.

Back to the Quarter Tree at first light. I've enjoyed each opportunity I've had to visit this special bristlecone pine grove. With some luck and God's blessings, maybe I'll get to visit it again.

 Check back soon for another post about the bristlecone pines in Great Basin National Park!

1 comment:

topoDcat said...

Have enjoyed your blog on the Bristlecone Pine, very much. Your descriptives of Mt Washington and the Magic grove intrigues. Great to see your photos. Best in the New Year

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