Inyo County (CA), Ancient Bristlecone Pine, Fallen Pine, Blue Sky, Dolomite

ISO100, 26mm, f/5, 1/320 sec
Patriarch Grove, White Mountains, Inyo County, CA

Suffering for art.  Yes, the statement is a bit over the top, but not entirely false since I did end up having effects from altitude sickness.  It all started well.  We had taken a moderately difficult 1/4 mile trail loop at the Patriarch Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest above Bishop.  At a little over 11,ooo ft, the air was thin, we were occasionally out of breath, but none the worse for wear.  Part one of this trek was about an hour.

I decided to head the direction of some isolated Bristlecones standing silently in white dolomite.  It was probably 1/8 of a mile uphill to the trees.  I had to sit and catch my breath for 5 minutes after arriving at the first target tree.  By the time I had reached this beautiful living specimen, this second trek had taken up almost an hour.  Since I was within sight of the car, the need to bring along my hydration pack seem unnecessary, plus it was just more weight.  Maybe not the best choice.  By the time I arrived back at the car, I was told I looked like crap and walked a little punch drunk.  And this low grade headache formed as well.  Altitude sickness.  Fortunately, it was never worse than a low grade headache and the strange need to sleep…immediately.  I still had my appetite and we made it back down to lower altitude safely, and were able to witness the existence of trees that are thousands of years old.

For those that might experience altitude sickness, the first rule is to descend quickly to lower elevation.  Symptoms such as a headache, nausea, and sleepiness are common.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 26mm, f/5, 1/320 sec

Inyo County (CA), Ancient Bristlecone Pine, Fallen Pine, Blue Sky, Dolomite.  near Bishop, CA. November 28, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.