White Mountain CA Trip 2

Well if you are just now joining us you can always check out last week’s Blog for Part 1.

I woke up in the dorm and packed up my stuff I was still waking up and it was time for some well needed caffeine, the chow hall there was awesome and they made some great food. We had a chance to sit down and make our bag lunches for the afternoon. We all had another round d of the same test as the night before, vitals, questionnaire and the cranium pressure thingy. It took a few minutes so like my usual self I ended up wandering off and as it turns out there was a native plant sale going on and I was like “hey, Charlie “Danger”” is always looking for basin sage let’s see if they have some. It is a good life when you have friends that you remember to pick up native plants for because they are into native plants, good friends to have.

Well of course while I was at the plant bizarre I was also they guy they were waiting on, sorry about being “that guy”, but it was all good. We got all of our stuff together and got into the convoy to head up to the mountain. Now what a lot of people take for granted is the trail head is about two and a half hours from Bishop and a lot of it is dirt road… So we started the drive and once we were on the mountain road the convoy was easy to keep and I really enjoyed the scenery driving up to the Ancient Bristle Cone Forrest. As we were driving up and undenounced to me Diamox causes you to have to pee, a lot. There were more than a few cars pulling off on our way up, ha-ha.

We did have a nice break on our way at Patriarch Grove and it was an amazing cross section of some of the oldest trees on the planet. As what I think significant forests are this one is relatively empty and it is a great experience to be able to enjoy something this significant without the crowds and fan fair of other forests and parks. The drive up there is great especially above the tree line it’s like being on a different planet with wide sweeping views of the surrounding area. Within the grove there are a couple short trails that give an amazing immersive experience. Short and easy is good though because you are at like 11,000 feet up there and you will quickly feel it, even with short hike don’t push it.

From there we were back in to the cars and up to the locked gate which serves as the trail head White Mountain, there were plenty of people parked there enjoying their afternoon after hiking up the mountain which is around a fourteen mile trip.  Lucky for me I only had to hike two miles to Barcroft Station which is a part of the White Mountain Research Centers. This was probably the coolest part of the trip for me.

You see this was my fourth trip up there and I have passed Barcroft Station always wondering what was inside there. It is a huge Quonset hut and it really doesn’t do it justice until you are inside. There are a couple lab rooms a kitchen and dining area plus a couple bunk rooms on the bottom floor.  Up top is more bunk rooms a game room and a TV room. Ironically one of my highlights was relaxing in the TV room watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on VHS before our test routine and dinner. One of the things I need to mention was how cool everyone was and what a fun gathering of strangers this was. It was a great opportunity to sit around and meet such a diverse group of outdoors people. Also shout out to Dr.s Cassy and Andre they were a part of the study team and super cool, Cassy was where I learned about the new SAM tourniquet from and it was super cool getting to talk some MDs with legit backcountry knowledge. In fact the whole team was pretty awesome and super friendly which goes along way when you are volunteering to test drugs, ha-ha.

Speaking of drugs, I have been up to altitude a lot and I have been altitude sick. I donk know what my dosage was but I had the side effects, frequent urination, tingling legs, food tasted off and I still had the headache and being tired from the altitude. So this is just my own experience but I think I would ditch the pills over acclimatization since it saves me some cash and peeing every couple hours (I would rather be rested and hydrated). But talk to you doctor bla bal bla, none of this is medical advice just my experience.

So after kind of a restless night it was up in the morning for breakfast and final round of vitals, cranial pressure and questioners but this time we had the benefit of a blood dray as well so that made for an exciting morning. The kitchen was busy and everyone was running around grabbing their stuff and getting squared away. We had to be out our have our gear staged up front by the mud room since another research group was headed up that morning it is kind of like a science Air B&B up there. A lot of people were headed back down and understandable since there where folks with a commute back to Sacramento and Monterey or back down the SoCal way. It’s like you never notice how long the trip is until you have to go back. But I want going back I was headed up the summit of White Mountain, but that is a story for next week.

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