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Travel [1402.24]

White Mountains Trip 2009

(this article first appeared in our 2009 holiday newsletter)

In May we took a 300-mile trip to the White Mountains, near Bishop CA, with Jim, Leon, and Randy (some friends from the Orange County Astronomers).

The mountains are home to the oldest living trees in the world, some almost 5000 years old. Bristlecone pines live above the standard tree line, in cold, dry, nutrient-poor conditions. They grow very slowly, producing wood that is extremely dense, resinous, and resistant to rot. In the cut-away to the right you can see how fine the rings are, about 100 per inch.

After camping a couple of nights we headed back home, stopping to take some photos of the huge dish antennas at the nearby Owens Valley Radio Observatory. About 100 miles further south, we stopped to explore Fossil Falls, which has fascinating rock sculptures formed when the Owens River polished lava that flowed from ancient volcanic eruptions in the area. Even more interesting, they're below ground level, so you cannot see them from the highway.

It was a very relaxing trip, but one thing is for sure- we still havenít gotten the hang of car camping. While our campmates feasted on grilled sausages and gourmet omelettes, we ate pop tarts and freeze dried eggs, both staples from our backpacking days!

See more images at our trip photo album.

If you wish to comment on this post, see the companion blogspot entry.

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