Sunday, 1 January 2017

Catching up

What with having to return home unexpectedly earlier this year I seem to have gotten out of keeping the blog updated.   We were able to resume our travels at the end of August, but blogging seemed to fall by the wayside, so I’m now attempting to catchup.

When we arrived back in Tucson, it was hot and then the remnants of Hurricane Newton hit and with it came a whole day of steady rain.   Tucsonans were delighted but to us it was just like being at home!   There was so much rain we even got to see the wash flowing.

It was quite a sight to see the normally dry sandy wash full of fast flowing muddy brown water and easy to see how people and vehicles get washed away.

Our plan had been to head to Yellowstone, but when we started checking out campsites, we discovered they’d be closing as we arrived.   Not very good planning on our part!

So as we’d enjoyed the Eastern Sierra Nevada so much last year, we decided to head off in that direction and explore some more.

One of the places we visited was the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains, home to some of the oldest living trees in the world, one tree is over 4,000 years old.  You're not told exactly where the tree is just in case some idiot vandalises it. 

We took a couple of short hikes, one of which took us to the remains of a mine and some old cabins built of bristlecone pine logs.   Established in 1863 the miners were looking for gold and silver.

Instead they found small quantities of lead and zinc ore but not enough to make it commercially viable.   An average of 10ft of snow, frigid winters and supply problems meant the mines were soon abandoned.

Our second hike was around the Discovery Trail, this took us through some of the older bristlecone pines.   They really are amazing trees and can continue live and grow on the tiniest strip of bark.

The cones are a lovely purple colour.

Part of the trail took us through some red rocks, once part of an ancient sea bed that uplifted to form the White Mountains.  Grains of sandstone were formed into red quartzite rock, as the mountains rose erosion uncovered the rocks.

Even though both hikes were only only about a mile long we found it really hard going, but we’d forgotten that we were at 10,000 ft, so we slowed down, rested a while, drank lots of water, ate some salty stuff and were fine.

Have fun, we are!

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