White Mountains Contents


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The White Mountains of California


Enjoy four days of geology, wildflowers, ancient trees and birds in the majestic alpine wilderness of the White Mountains, in Inyo National Forest, on the eastern edge of the Owens Valley.

Limited to just 25 people, our group will stay at the Crooked Creek Station (10,200’), part of the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station complex. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic scientist/naturalists will guide small groups through the variety of geological and ecological communities found in the Whites, as we study and enjoy the fascinating natural history of this scenic and unique California mountain range, emphasizing geology, botany and bird-life. The Whites are home to ancient bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva) - the oldest trees in the world.

We are privileged to have as our principal field staff Dr. Tanya Atwater, emeritus professor of geology at UC Santa Barbara, and Steve Junak, botanist and herbarium curator at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.  Both of these extraordinary scientists and educators will guide us through this fascinating alpine ecosystem. We will also be joined by Santiago Escruceria, who is an environmental educator with years of experience leading international bird watching trips and birding excursions for the Mono Lake Committee and others.  Our relaxed pace will also include hiking opportunities and visits to the Schulman Grove (location of the almost-5,000 year old Methuselah tree) and to the Patriarch Grove.  Evenings will feature campfires, astronomy sessions and natural history slide shows.

Day-time drives and hikes will take us above 11,000’. Though hiking will not be strenuous, participants should be able to acclimatize to this high altitude.

Cost:  $450 ($435 for CIR Ironwood members) - includes 3 nights’ indoor accommodations and use of research station facilities, 8 delicious meals prepared by station staff, naturalists, materials (animal and plant checklists, bibliography).