Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller
Date: July 14, 2022
This was one of our favorite and challenging hikes of our 43-day trip. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive took us up from 4,500 feet to 10,000 feet. A short distance later we parked at the Bristlecone Parking Area at 9,600 feet to begin the Alpine Lakes Trail which branched into the Bristlecone-Glacier Trail. Although we have been hiking in high altitude for around 25 days, this 4.5-mile trail was still very challenging. Rangers warned hikers of the possibility of altitude sickness which was more prevalent over 10,000 feet where the air was thinner.
The trail gradually climbed over 500 feet beginning in a forest area. After about two miles, the trail dramatically changed to a steep rock trail of quartzite boulders and other rocks exposed to the open sun. We witnessed beautiful views of the mountains, ravines, twisted bristlecone trees, and patches of snow on the distance heights. Had we continued this trail we would eventually have come upon a clear alpine lake hollowed by a glacier and a small icefield. Instead, after this difficult climb we turned north and began hiking on the famous bristlecone pine grove interpretive trail.