Friday, July 15, 2011

Raintree via North Loop - 7/15/11

Seventeen hikers from the Around the Bend Friends Hiking Club invaded the North Loop Trail today hiking to the famous 3000 year old bristlecone tree affectionately called "Raintree," seen in the top photo. As the story goes, a hiker named Nick named the tree after a tree in a movie called "Raintree County." He said it looked like the tree in the movie (which was a different type of tree that "rained" blossoms, or seeds, or something in the wind) and the name stuck.

The group began their 1500 foot climb at the North Loop Trailhead on Deer Creek Hwy 158. Due to different hiking speeds, we re-grouped at the Meadow and at the High Point of the hike. Roger, pictured in the second photo, coordinated the group and made sure everyone was always accounted for.

The flowers were blooming along the trail from beginning to end. There were red Indian Paintbrush, yellow Monkey Flowers, blue Lupine, purple sage, and yellow Marigolds. It was very colorful and only added to the gorgeous blue sky, green bristlecone trees, and whitish gray limestone rock.

After the meadow, the hikers spread out even more but it was very nice to be able to hike at your own pace and not feel rushed. It was too beautiful a day to not take your time and enjoy the beauty. The hike topped out at just above 10,000 feet above sea level then made a short half mile descent of around 80 elevation feet to Raintree which was situated at the base of the "toe" of Mummy Mountain.

At the tree, we sat in the sun with our backs to the chilly breeze and had our snack break. Ann told the story about how the tree got its name and we all decided we would get the book "Raintree County" and read the story. Shortly, we were ready to begin our small climb up to the high point and start the descent. Again, we hiked at our own pleasant pace. Some hikers are up-hillers and some hikers are down-hillers!

Conver- sation among this group never stopped ... well, except going up the switchback section. It got pretty quiet on that portion of the hike. However, the rest of the time could not have been more enjoyable.

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