Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bristlecone Loop - 5/31/12

                                The Bristlecone Trail

 Oh, glorious day! After the writer's road trip across the country to the East Coast, (literally ... as in, Hilton Head, SC), the hike on the familiar Bristlecone Loop in the Spring Mountains was like being back in heaven! The sky was so blue and the air was so pleasant, the writer kept wondering why she ever left. Well, family is important, too!

 Eleven hikers participated in the six mile loop hike whose trailhead is located at the end of the Lee Canyon Road near the ski resort in the Spring Mountains. We parked and walked down the hill to the lower end of the Bristlecone Loop. Here, we found an old forest road guarded by a gate and a couple of dogs who were camping with their owners nearby.

                                Hiking up the forest road.

 The first 3.5 miles of the loop are on the road which led the hikers gradually up from an elevation of 8450 feet to the Bonanza Trail junction at 9350 elevation feet. The sun was hot but the shade provided by some of the trees lining the road was comfortable. We made pretty good time on this part of the trail because we were anxious to get to the shade on the trail portion of the hike. One hiker found three new geocaches on our way.

                            Mummy Mountain through the bristlecone trees.

 After stopping at the Bonanza Trail junction for our snack break, we continued up the road. Shortly, the road turned into a beautiful trail through the trees and rock with views of Mummy Mountain, South Sister and the ski slopes. There were very few flowers showing their blooms and we didn't see any wildlife such as deer or wild horses from the trail.

 The aspens had leafed out so the last half mile or so was under a canopy of light green as the sun shined through the bright leaves. There are still patches of snow covering the upper elevations of the park but a few more days like today and they will be history. We finished the hike and climbed back into our cars for the ride back, rejuvenated and relaxed.

                                Fallen Tree

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