The Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest P.3 The Patriarch Grove
This is the last in my 3 part series of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest series. Links to the first two are at the end of this post.
The Patriarch Grove is located 12 miles past the Bristlecone Pine Forest visitors center. It's 12 miles of rocky, bumpy road, but navigable by a 2wd car.
On my way out I saw a sedan and a mini van so it's fine, but the road is rough and speeds of 10-20 miles per hour are normal. Even though I was doing 30-40 mph, it still took me 45minutes because of all the twists, turns and areas I had to slow down for, but it was totally worth the drive.
Even along the route there are beautiful trees here and there.
Upon arrival you might notice a monster tree just beyond the parking lot. This is the Patriarch Tree.
While you can tell it's large, until you walk up to it you can't appreciate how large it is.
From what I could find, the Patriarch Tree is over 1500 years old. A youngster compared to the Methuselah Grove Trees. The Patriarch makes up for it's age with it's size though. The circumference of the base of the tree measures 36 feet(1.)! That's the same as the General Sherman giant sequoia tree! https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/sherman.htm There is suspicion that the Patriarch is actually 2 trees that grew together though.
Moving on, this was a nice, full grown specimen right next to the Patriarch Tree.
There is a trail to wander around and see the trees on this side of the parking lot, but the other side of the parking lot there was a hill with some trees that looked interesting so I headed over there after visiting the Patriarch.
This area is located at 11,000 feet up which makes hiking this small hill a bit more of a challenge. The Overlook trail on this hill is a 1 mile loop, but I only went up about halfway because I was running out of light and the trees at the beginning were amazing.
This dead portion of a tree was incredible. Nature's sculpture.
I would love to have this sitting in the foyer of my home. It's common for Japanese homes to have a tree stump like this as a work of art in their foyer. For example this is my wife's parent's foyer in Japan with a tree trunk sculpture.
As I was up on the hill, I noticed a guy taking pictures of a tree below so I headed down there.
It appeared to be a dead tree, but the branches made these really cool poses.
In this image it looks like the larger tree is reaching out to the smaller one.
So, the bristlecone pines get their name from their pine cones. Specifically the immature buds(2.).
Some pine cones glazed with sap.
Several years ago, when I was up here last time, I caught a cool picture of dripping sap.
My favorite picture of the trip was this windblown bristlecone in the Patriarch Grove.
I'm actually thinking of getting it printed and framed. While the background isn't that great due to the smoke from fires in the Sierra Nevadas, the contrast between the dead portion and the green is so damn cool.
In closing, here is one more picture from the Patriarch Grove.
If you ever have the chance to get to the Bristlecone Pines Forest, you should definitely visit the Patriarch Grove. The small area has a ton of special sites to explore and photograph. There is a restroom there, but that's it. No mobile service or water so keep that in mind.
If you missed the first two posts in this series they can be found here:
The Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest P.1 The Schulman Grove
The Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest P.2 The Mexican Mine
For information on the Bristlecone Pine Forest you can visit https://www.bishopvisitor.com/activities/bristlecone-forest/