19 June 2015

Twisted Forest

Dixie National Forest

It is unexpected while standing among the aspens and spruce, but right about at the edge of Ashdown Gorge Wilderness the soil changes and conditions are good for Bristlecone Pines. We walk through a break in the thick wall of bright green to find ourselves looking at a bleak landscape of red and tan decorated with the twisted forms that give the trail its name.

Ashdown Gorge Wilderness sign
Walking past the sign with the trail among the trees ahead visible.

rock lined trail
Following the rock lined trail into the bleak landscape.

short and twisted tree
The trees are stunted and twisted by the environment.

The area clearly gets plenty of water. Not only is it surrounded the deep green aspens, but there is a creek running down the middle. The soil must make that water very hard to get to in order to force these trees to let parts die and stay so short.

thin waterfall over a cave
The stream as it falls over a ledge below the trail.

We take the time to look closely at a few things as we climb from the stream.

short pine needles in bundles of five
The needles up close. They come in bundles of five.

close up on some very tiny flowers
The trees are not the only living things. There are also some flowers like this very tiny one.

Unfortunately, we are not all much for walking and even though this trail is very short, we have to turn back before it is finished. My map shows it finishing at the top of the hill up ahead and I wonder what wondrous view awaits those with just a little more enthusiasm and stamina.

another look at the trees and barren land
The trees vary greatly in this area.

mostly dead tree with nearby very green area
This tree has nearly had to give up altogether while close behind it, the trees grow into a wall of thick green.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 27 July 2015

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