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Wheeler Peak

A cache by GR8GPN Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 09/06/2010
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Wheeler Peak
Elevation 13,063

Between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, in a corner of the vast territory that stretches across the West, an unexpectedly rugged landscape suddenly rises above the floor of the desert and into the blue sky of eastern Nevada.
Wheeler Peak is the second highest peak in the U.S. state of Nevada, and the highest mountain entirely within the state. It is named for the explorer and cartographer George Montague Wheeler, leader of the Wheeler Survey of the late nineteenth century. It is located in the Snake Range and within Great Basin National Park near the border with Utah. (from Wikipedia)
The "Great Basin" that Great Basin National Park is named after extends from the Sierra Nevada Range in California to the Wasatch Range in Utah, and from southern Oregon to southern Nevada. This is an area where no water drains to an ocean, but drains inward. As big as it is, the Great Basin is only part of an even larger region called the Basin and Range province that extends down into Mexico. The landscape around Great Basin National Park is a good example of what is found throughout the Basin and Range province - long mountain ranges separated by equally long, flat valleys.

Wheeler Peak's steep north-facing headwall was steepened by recent glacial episodes. While such features are commonplace in other regions of the country, Wheeler Peak's glacial remnants are the most conspicuous example in the state of Nevada. A well-known grove of ancient Bristlecone Pine trees lies near the summer parking access area at 10000 feet elevation. Donald R. Currey, a student of the University of North Carolina, was taking core samples of bristlecones in 1964. He discovered that "Prometheus" in a cirque below Wheeler Peak was over 4,000 years old. His coring tool broke, so the U.S. Forest service granted permission to cut down "Prometheus". 4,844 rings were counted on a cross-section of the tree, making "Prometheus" at least 4,844 years old, the oldest non-clonal living thing known to man.

The rock glacier in the cirque beneath Wheeler Peak is the only glacier in Nevada, the last remnant of the great continental ice sheets that covered a large part of the world during the last Ice Age (some 10,000 years ago). It is one of the southernmost glaciers in the United States. This glacier lives in a protected cirque around 11,500 feet in elevation. The glacier measures 300 feet long and 400 feet wide. Exact depth is unknown. If the current predicted warming trends continue, this glacier will disappear in less than 20 years.

The forest on Wheeler Peak stands in the rubble of glacial outwash. During the last ice age, 20,000 to 11,000 years ago, glaciers emanated from Wheeler Peak and lay heavily on the landscape. With the colder temperatures of that period, Engelmann spruce and Limber pine forests were found much further down slope in the 6,000 foot range. As the temperatures rose and the glaciers retreated, so rose the conifer forest.

Wheeler Peak creates its own weather patterns due to its elevation. Moist air blows from the West and cools as it is forced to rise over the 13,063 foot peak. As it rises, clouds form. The clouds drop rain or snow mostly on the mountain’s western side. But enough moisture falls on the eastern, leeward side to sustain these high mountain forests and fill many of the mountains streams year-round.

Cache logging requirements:
1) There is a sign near the parking area: What is indicated by the area in green?
2) What is indicated by the area in gray?.
3) Who is Wheeler Peak named after?
4) What direction does Wheeler Peak's headwall face?

Additional Hints (No hints available.)

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