Journey to see Methuselah
name is Methuselah. It is 4,767 years old. It lives in solitude,
high in the mountains near the Sierra Nevadas.
Bristlecone Pines are the world's oldest living inhabitants.
These trees are found in abundance at altitudes of about
10,000 feet in the majestic White Mountains of California.
The oldest one is named Methuselah. Methuselah lives, and
to the occasional visitor to the White Mountains, it is
unknown. In order to avoid vandalism, the Park Service has
not marked Methuselah--it could be any one of the trees
in the region.
was on a quest to the White Mountains to pay homage to the
Bristlecones. There's something mystical about a living
being that's been around for almost 5,000 years. Can you
imagine having lived through many a civilisation and empire?
Can you imagine being witness to the Native Americans peacefully
living, being overpowered by Europeans, generation after
generation of immigrants following. Methuselah has seen
it all; after all it is 4,767 years old…
White Mountains have another draw--they have California's
second highest peak at 14,262 feet -- White Mountain Peak.
The journey to the White Mountains is not a short one. For
me, it involved getting in a car and driving 260 miles.
260 miles is about the distance from Rangpur to Chittagong,
but that too, as the crow flies. After fueling up in the
San Francisco Bay Area, I drove about 3 hours to the gateway
of Yosemite. Yosemite, is a paradise that is unparalleled
on this Earth. Driving through Yosemite is like a showcase
to the magnificence that this planet exhibits. Mammoth glacier
eons ago carved the planet to its present form and no other
place on it shows the wonders like Yosemite. Granite domes
and walls abound here and trees and waterfalls line them,
miles would pass quickly, and I would already be longing
for the drive back, so that I could see it all over again!
But my goal was to spend a day in the midst of the ancient
bristlecones and to celebrate it by reaching the apex of
their home--White Mountain Peak.
is undoubtedly one of the wonders of the world, but the
word has been out for many years -- and tourists abound
in Yosemite almost any time of the year. I have spent many
a sleepless night in Yosemite in my tent parked two feet
from another because of lack of space and overpopulation.
Even the breathing in the other tent is audible.
the White Mountains prove otherwise? Yes indeed.
It is a place of solitude and peace and perhaps that is
why the Bristlecones have decided to make this their abode.
They are in good company. Big-horned sheep, some of the
shyest creatures on earth also live near the White Mountains.
They are an almost extinct breed, but the White Mountains
offer them the peace, quiet and privacy they desire.
would approach in a few months and this was my window of
opportunity to reach White Mountain Peak to see the Bristlecones.
The high mountain pass through Yosemite National Park, would
be engulfed in snow and the avalanche danger would make
it impossible to cross. It would be closed until late Spring
when it would open again with the advent of the sun and
but a half a dozen people on my way up the mountain. Unfortunately
the Big-horned sheeps were feeling particularly shy that
day. But the bunny rabbits were playful as always, jumping
up into the air and scuttling off with their cute round
tails wagging vigourously. But the bristlecone pines were
neither shy nor playful. They were magnificent. If no one
had told me that these trees were thousands of years old,
I still would have stood in awe -- they emanate a wisdom
and maturity that we humans will never have. They have stood
the test of time -- some serious time.