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June 16, 2015

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Getting an early start on Sunday morning from home on Grandview allowed time to make it to the Grandview Campground within the Ancient Bristlecone Pines on the White Mountains
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The old 395 with its fields of thistles is gone for good.  Now all paved over with new choices – Rubio’s, Wal-Mart and a long line of strip malls and traffic.   With the temperature consistently over 100 from the top of the Cajon Pass there was not a compelling reason to stop. 

Until Kramer Junction, anyway.  Where the old Astro Burger was sporting a new sign.  The menu has added quite a few Mexican items, but still has the traditional burger. 
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The old Antique Shop next door hasn’t changed much  either.  The prices are high enough to make me think they do not want to change much either.

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Just before the turnoff from  395 to begin the climb up to the Bristlecones is the Copper Top – voted #1 Restaurant in the USA by Yelp readers.  Decided to take dinner up the hill and stopped for a Big Pine Combo, which consists of chicken, pork ribs, tri-tip and I added coleslaw and green chili with beans.  Really very good.
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This weekend was the New Moon and there were 4 separate groups holding Star Parties at the Grandview Campground.  Our campsite was next to the Riverside Astronomy Society, lucky to find one at all and nice level one at that.  The size of some of the massive Dobson scopes is quite impressive.
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The Ancient Bristlecone Pines are the oldest living trees (non-cloning organizms) on the planet.  Altho other Bristlecone varieties exist none reach the age of those of the White Mountains in CA.  The Methuselah Tree is thought to be 4800 years old.  A couple years ago it was announced his older brother was discovered, recorded at 5064 years in the same grove.

A young pine, this one is quite young and fast growing.  The Bristlecone Pine and Limber Pine look similar, but the distinctive bristle is not present on the cones of the Limber Pine.
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Erosion is thought to be the primary reason for the trees to die.  The roots are subject to invasion and left unexposed the trees would live on.
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