On fourth of July in '02, Gil & I were 10 years younger and just a tad more fit than we are today, so hiking at a 10,000 foot elevation was at least doable. It took us 4 hours to hike 4 miles on the Methuselah Trail, by the end of which we were totally winded and exhausted, but gratified that we managed to traverse a small segment of this land of the ancients. By the time we got back down to Big Pine, however, I had a raging sore throat from all the labored breathing I did up at the higher elevations, and Gil had to get me some cough medication that night to dull the pain. In the end though, it was totally worth it, and the fireworks down in Independence, just south of Big Pine, were a great way to celebrate Independence Day!
7/4/02 Desert Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia). Methuselah Trail.
7/4/02 Clark's Nutcracker. Methuselah Trail.
http://www.amwest-travel.com/awt_bristle.html (American West Travelogue)
Birds of the White Mountains: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5192624.pdf
What we saw: Mountain chickadees, Clark's Nutcrackers, mountain bluebirds, dark-eyed juncos (near visitor center).