Methuselah cover

Methuselah

By


“My husband . . . Some people are tree huggers, mine is a tree sniffer.”
“Try it. Right here,” as I touched the smooth bare russet wood of the ancient Bristlecone Pine. “This smells like Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey, it’s like no other tree I’ve ever smelled. It’s an aromatic blend of pine, sweet honey, and wood.”


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars on 4 reviews

"Excellent addition of photos. Don't miss this adventure when you visit Bishop, CA. It is spectular." 5 stars by




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Methuselah

The Tree Sniffer

“My husband . . . Some people are tree huggers, mine is a tree sniffer.”

“Try it. Right here,” as I touched the smooth bare russet wood of the ancient Bristlecone Pine. “This smells like Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey, it’s like no other tree I’ve ever smelled. It’s an aromatic blend of pine, sweet honey, and wood” I said to Lori as we hiked the four mile Methuselah Walk of the ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine

Lori laughed, “I doubt Jack Daniel's would advertise their Whisky with the slogan,” Try our special blend, smells like a Bristlecone Pine.

Long Lived

The Bristlecone Pine (species Pinus longaeva) is the longest-lived life form on Earth.

According to our trail brochure, in 1957 Dr. Edward Schulman, searching for climate records in tree rings, increment bored a tree from this same grove. Upon counting the rings under a microscope back at camp, he nearly shouted at his colleague, “we’ve got a 4,000-plus tree.” It was later dated to be over 4,600 years old. Schulman named this tree Methuselah.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

It was our third day hiking the Eastern Sierras. Our 27th anniversary. This year we decided to explore the Sierras with Bishop, CA as our home base.

Sierra Nevada Range from edge of Bishop, CA

Alan Levine

(CC BY 2.0)

Plan Ahead

To experience these ancient treasures, make your way to Big Pine, CA. on route 395.

Turn onto route 168. Then wind your way slowly up-down, with hairpin switchbacks, and spectacular views from 3,980 feet to over 10,000 to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Visitors Center. When you read the map that says plan on at least a one hour drive once you leave 395 at Big Pine don’t doubt it, it’s slow going.

Plan ahead. The intrepid hiker will outfit themselves with a day-pack, layered clothing, gloves, a hat, hiking poles, water, and some snacks. When we arrived, in late October, the temperature was a chilly 36 degrees. Not including the wind chill.

Methuselah

Methuselah

Believe me when I say it’s worth the entire day to meet Methuselah. It’s a photographers paradise. The trail begins at the visitor center. The hike is a four mile loop trail. The travel time they post is 2-3 hours, it took us over four. The elevation change is between 800 - 1,000 feet. Not just once but two to three times. Be prepared to climb.

Chao Yen

(CC BY-ND 2.0)

Unidentified

Sorry Motor Home Window Gawking Enthusiasts this is not a roadside tourist attraction.

The trail is very well maintained. Don’t slip, or drop your camera. Most of the hike you’re walking along a ridge with drops of 500-1,000 feet. However, once you reach identification post 16, (about two miles in) described in the brochure, you’ve surround yourself with hundreds, if not thousands of Ancient Bristlecone Pines.

Oh, by the way, Methuselah is not identified. It is unmarked for its protection. Finding the oldest tree really didn't matter any more - they are all unique and spectacular.

Quote Me

So, photographers, hikers, and trail enthusiasts don't miss this unique opportunity to breath in (sniff) the fresh clean mountain air of the Ancient Bristlecone Pines.

A quote from John Muir provides the perfect ending, "Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks, trees, water, sky, or hearts."

(I added the word trees. Seemed to fit.)