Our second day in Bishop was spent climbing the White Mountains to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to the oldest living, non-clonal organisms in the world, averaging 2,000 years old--the oldest being 5,062 years old. The trees themselves are the definition of gnarled with swirls of orange, yellow and black in their bark. I could have spent hours exploring the grove and obsessing over each tree, but the light was beginning to fade and we needed to make it to Mammoth.
Our first overnight stop was in Bishop, where Catie had lived for four years and which became our base of operations as we chased summer storms, explored the gorge, and climbed the White Mountains to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
The Mt. Whitney Portal was one of several stops on the first leg of our road trip. As we drove up to the portal, the entire valley between the Eastern Sierras and the White Mountains became visible. The road up from the valley was completely deserted, so I was suprised by the number of people at the portal, returning from adventures or beginnning new ones.