THE DAY I HUGGED A TREE Remembering My Family’s Visit to Great Basin National Park
According to the folks at Lonely Planet, October is the best month of the year to visit our country’s national parks. Apparently it tops the list because of light crowds, temperate weather, beautiful fall foliage, and low-cost seasonal hotel rates. Personally, I think the national parks are worth a visit during any month you have spare time. I’ve been to several of them over the years, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Zion, and Grand Canyon, but I have many more on my list! The trip to the Grand Canyon was excellent because one of my daughters and I took the opportunity to hike down to the Colorado River and back up, getting a close look at the vistas most people only see from high above. I’ve enjoyed them all. One in particular that has stuck with me was one my wife, daughters, and I took a few summers back to Great Basin National Park on the Utah- Nevada border.
The trip made quite an impression, partly because when we stopped in Baker the night before, we ended up lodging in the most bug-infested motel room I’ve ever stayed in. There were more bugs inside than outside — and there were already quite a few outside! The next morning, we packed up and cleared out faster than we’d ever left a motel before. The park couldn’t have been a sharper contrast to that awful room. Located about six hours from Reno by car, Great Basin is considered one of the more low-key parks, and everywhere you turn offers a beautiful view. It’s full of sage-covered foothills and mountain slopes, and it even has its own cave system. The highlight of our visit, though, was a hike we took to one of the park’s main attractions: a stand of ancient bristlecone pine trees. We got to the park early thanks to our mad dash out of the hotel. We filled up our water bottles at a campground near the trailhead (it was some of the best-tasting and most refreshing water I’ve ever had) and set out on our hike to the Wheeler Peak Grove, which is 1 1/2 miles up its namesake mountain. When we got there, we all stopped to stare at the twisted trees, some of which are more than 3,000 years old. Bristlecone pines are the longest-living trees, and they’re in the running for the longest- living thing on Earth — right up there with the creosote bushes that grow in the Mojave Desert. According to the National Park Service, the cold temperatures and harsh winds in Great Basin are actually responsible for the trees’ incredible age, because they keep their growth slow and steady. It was really something to see the pines in person and to sit down, meditate, and realize we were there with trees that had soaked up so much history. I even hugged
one of them, and I’d never been a tree- hugger until that moment! Combined with the sight of eagles swooping overhead, it made just about the perfect park visit. We had limited time to stay at Great Basin that summer, but I’d love to check out the Lehman Hill Caves next time we visit and hike up to those pines again at dusk. There’s no light pollution in the park, so you can get quite a show from the stars. I wouldn’t mind being in that grove of bristlecone pine trees after dark and looking up. No matter how big our problems are — legal or otherwise — I’ve found looking at the night sky makes them feel a lot less important in the grand scheme of things. Of course, if you don’t have the time to visit Great Basin to forget your worries right now, the best way to deal with them is to call your business lawyer. You can reach Sierra Crest Business Law Group today by calling 775.448.6070 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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