Sunday, January 21, 2024

A Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Groves, Part 6 - Snake Divide Grove

See Part 1 (Overview)Part 2 (Wheeler Cirque)Part 3 (Mt. Washington)Part 4 (Magic Grove), and Part 5 (Eagle Peak) of the Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Pine Groves.

In this blog post, we're going to visit the Snake Divide Grove of bristlecone pines. On the map below, it's lumped in with the Mt. Washington grove. It's actually just east of the "n" in Mt. Washington as its own little grove. The bristlecones grow on white limestone (see photo above). They are accessed via a slight detour off the Snake Divide Trail, which stays in the forest to the north of the bare limestone knobs.

The trees are actually on two bare knobs, but they grow as regular forest giants in between. Even when the trees are tall and closer together, they are still amazing.

The wood is also exceptional. You can see this tree right from the Snake Divide trail (which starts at the end of the Snake Creek road).

The trees aren't super big, but they are twisted and tenacious.

Part of the fun of visiting the bristlecones is to see how odd they have become.

They are so good at clinging on to life, even when they fall over.

Prevailing winds can often be figured out just by looking at the trees.

This is one of the least visited bristlecone groves in the Park, mainly because most people don't know it exists. If you want to see the more popular Magic Grove, it's not too hard to add on a detour to the Snake Divide Grove to see some underappreciated but gorgeous trees.

 The last part in this series is coming soon!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

A Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Groves, Part 5 - Eagle Peak

See Part 1 (Overview)Part 2 (Wheeler Cirque)Part 3 (Mt. Washington), and Part 4 (Magic Grove) of the Tour of Great Basin National Park's Bristlecone Pine Groves.

One of the least-visited bristlecone groves in Great Basin National Park is the Eagle Peak Grove. Eagle Peak, also known as Peak 10842 (its elevation in feet) is between Snake Creek and Kious Basin/Pole Canyon. 

There's no trail to access it. I've gone up several times via the Snake Creek side, and it takes about 3 hours of hiking up very steep terrain with some bushwhacking. 

Although this grove doesn't get many visitors, it is fascinating due to the array of twisted trees and amazing backdrops.

A few of the trees have grown to adapt to the surrounding geology.

I really enjoy seeing how the trees twist around the rocks.

Near the top of Eagle Peak, you get views of Baker Peak, Wheeler Peak, and Doso Doyabi.

The weathered wood is beautiful.

The balancing act some of these trees have is amazing. This one nicely frames Pyramid Peak.

I  did find tags on some of the trees, so dendrochronologists have looked at some to determine their ages.

Some are too small to be of interest to the dendrochronologists, but they're still beautiful. In the fall, you can get great views of the Snake Creek watershed and the aspen changing color.

This is an exposed area, so not the best place to be during summer monsoons.

We practically ran off the mountain this day to avoid the lightning. The bristlecones just keep growing, showing the dominant wind direction. 
This is one of the hardest groves to get to in the Park, but if you make the effort, it's likely you'll have it all to yourself.

Two parts left to this series, check back soon!
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