Hoff's Aliner Travels
A Travel Blog for US and Canadian Parks with Geological Notes

Great Basin is actually an area of the United States where the rain and snow do not flow to the oceans. The slope and the rate of evaporation is such that the water sinks into the ground or evaporates before reaching a river that flows to the sea.
More on the Great Basin and ancient lakes

Great Basin National Park
The park is notable for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest known non-clonal organisms; and for the Lehman Caves at the base of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak.
The oldest non-clonal organism ever discovered, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree at least 5000 years old, grew at the treeline near Wheeler Peak in the National Park.

Hike Unfinished
The major road to see the Bristlecone pines was blocked due to wildfires and I thought I could hike up to them from a different road. I gave up after making less than 900 vertical feet in 2 1/2 hours. There were a few factors that made it difficult: altitude (started at 6800 feet), rough terrain (see picture), slope (30 to 40 degrees), loose rock, no trail, heat (80’s) , and very little shade. I also had to keep an eye out for Bonneville rattlesnakes that are unique to the area. It would have been difficult for rangers to find me and rescue me if I got in trouble. You have to know your limits and know when to turn back.


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