With our radiator repaired by Jose at Bishop Radiator, we were ready to head out of town for the second time. We decided to skip the rugged Silver Canyon Road this time and take an easier route toward the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The forest is located in the White Mountains about an hour from Bishop and is home to the oldest living trees in the world. We had heard about the forest from a fellow traveler we met at a coffee shop in Bishop.
As we approached the forest, we encountered some spectacular views of the White Mountains and the Eastern Sierras. The elevation made it much colder and very windy so we took pictures quickly and headed back to the jeep. The Visitor’s Center was closed when we arrived at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest but there is lots of informational signage about the forest and the trails outside the Visitor’s Center. In order to see the oldest trees, you have to take a fairly long hike into the forest. Given the chilly weather, we decided on the shorter hike through Schulman Grove. It was a little over a mile and well worth it. The trees are fascinating to look at and there was great information posted along the trail about the science behind how they can live so long in a fairly harsh environment. The views of the mountains in the distance were also lovely.
After our hike, it was time to find a spot for the night. We had seen a campground on our way into the forest that looked like it might do for one night. It was $20 which is more than we like to pay but that included electric hookup and they offered showers for $2 so it seemed worth a shot. We jumped in the jeep and headed that way, enjoying the beautiful drive back as much as we had the drive there. When we arrived at the campground, we picked a site and got set up in time to make some dinner. We soon realized that many of the campers were actually living in their trailers in the campsite rather than just passing through. While we were there, a family appeared to be getting evicted from the camper they were staying in. All in all, it was rather a strange experience and would not be high on my recommendation list. You can’t win them all I guess!