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.