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Field Work, Wildflowers

Bristlecone Pines in the Schell Creek Range near Ely, NV

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where I want to write blogposts on any consistent basis. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. Anyway, field season 2012 is well underway in northern NV. Really different than last year. It is incredibly dry and that has meant fewer annual forbs and grasses out as well as highly reduced flowering of almost everything (notable exception in subsequent blog post).

My field crew is made of four people from various points around the west and upper midwest. South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and Alaska are represented. Three had no idea what to expect from Nevada. They have been pretty well pleasantly surprised. It seems they thought Nevada was flat and hot. So much for that misconception. Last week they were out in Duck Creek Valley which is near Ely, NV and the valley is between the Schell Creek and Duck Creek Mountains. I used to live there and it is lovely. The skiing and hiking is about as good as any I’ve done. The pic with me and the bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) is up Timber Creek drainage. It is difficult to guess but based on the ages of some bristlecones from a grove not too far away, I would say the tree in the photo is around 4000 years old. Just a guess but a reasonable one. These trees are really amazing. If you get a chance to visit Great Basin National Park which is in the Snake Range just east of the Schell Creek Range, you should hike up to some of the bristlecone groves where there are old trees.

Up close and personal with a bristlecone cone.


None of the crew had ever seen bristlecone pines before so it seemed that I should take them up Timber Creek to a small grove I’ve visited many times in summer and winter.

It was a lovely day and we saw lots of Great Basin fritillary butterflies on all sorts of plants (Speyeria egleis ) and a pretty good smattering of wildflowers (Aquilegia formosa) in the creek on the way up.





5 thoughts on “Bristlecone Pines in the Schell Creek Range near Ely, NV

  1. Was fishing on Timber Creek in July. This year not many wildflowers since the winter was so dry. Fishing ok. If you drive over to bird creek and walk up the trail you will find a solitary bristlecone pine. Walk in the Fall and it is spectacular with the color change of the aspens. Not sure just where the trail leads.

    Posted by Harry McNicholas | September 8, 2012, 6:00 pm
  2. You can also walk up the road up Berry creek and find bristlecone pines. We found one about a mile up the road from the campground on Berry Creek.

    Posted by Harry McNicholas | July 15, 2014, 4:20 pm
  3. Fishing this year was excellent in Timber Creek. I caught a large brown trout in addition to rainbows and brook trout. Not much in wildflowers this last year. Does anyone know if there are any fish in Berry Creek? I tried fishing some by the campground and did not get a bite.

    Posted by Harry McNicholas | January 22, 2015, 4:29 pm
  4. I guess nobody heads to Timber Creek or Berry Creek except for a few locals and hunters in the Fall. Good. The fishing on Timber creek will remain a secret. Caught the biggest brown trout ever on Timber Creek.

    Posted by Harry McNicholas | April 22, 2015, 6:54 pm
  5. Headed back to Ely first of July. Can’t wait to be on Timber Creek and Berry Creek again. Not lots of snow this last winter but it has rained all of May.

    Posted by Harry McNicholas | May 27, 2015, 4:52 pm

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