Tuesday, November 20, 2007
In elevation, that is.
The scenic drive in Great Basin National Park passes the 10,000 foot elevation mark. (Washington's highest paved road is at Sunrise at 6400 feet.) The trailhead is beyond. Mt. Wheeler is seen in the near distance. At 13,000+ feet, it does not seem imposing to those who are used to mountains of similar height rising from near sea level. The plains below are already 5000 feet.
We are not used to trees that grow to a full straight height at this altitude. Here the Alpine and sub-Alpine zones are well above that 10,000 foot level. Trees at this level are strong and sturdy, though not as large or as dense as those in the deep forests of Washington.
The air is thinner, too, of course, the wind is brisk and chill, and a hike at 10,000 feet is more of an effort.
The plain below--the Great Basin--5000 feet above sea level.
These pictures were taken the same day as the cave pictures. The destination for our hike was the Bristlecone Pine Grove, but we turned back before we reached it. We'll come back another time in a warmer but not too hot season.