The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to the oldest individual trees on Earth—bristlecone pines. Some exceed 4,000 years and appear sculpted by the wind. I’ve never seen them before and I’m looking forward to this adventure. The name alone conjures wild images about this natural area, situated off SR 168, about 24 miles from Big Pine, CA, along Hwy 395. New destinations are an attraction to me, especially when riding my motorcycle.
I intend to camp at the Grandview Campground, situated at 8,600 feet. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so I arrive early on Thursday, increasing my chances of finding a campsite at Grandview. My brother, Gilbert, will arrive on Friday and, if the campground is full, our backup plan is doing some dispersed camping in the Inyo National Forest. Then, we'll ride to Bishop, CA, for the annual Bishop Mule Days. The parade of mules begins at 10 a.m. sharp. This is the longest non-motorized parade in the country. It’s a favorite of mine, and I’m hoping to see our Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks packers compete.
Grandview Campground is five miles from the Ancient Bristlecone Forest, but I’ll save that for tomorrow. Now, my priority is on searching for a campsite. As luck would have it, there is an empty, secluded spot that is perfect. The campsite borders a large meadow and has a huge tree for shade and shelter. There is a table and a fire ring. Without hesitation, I stake this camp and begin unloading my gear.
It’s quiet here, and as evening approaches, my campfire glows beneath an incredible sunset with the Sierra Range in the background. I’ll save my gourmet dinner for tomorrow night when Gilbert arrives. Tonight, it’s Dinty Moore stew with a Hostess cupcake for dessert. My transistor radio picks up a country-western station from nearby Bishop. I’m thankful for such an incredible camping spot with an ever-changing sunset. The stars are bright and will be my companions tonight. My finger follows several satellites across the entire sky.