The Ancient Bristlecone Forest is in the White Mountains north of Death Valley at an elevation of about 10,000′. The oldest living tree is located in the area (exact location withheld to protect it from the stupid). I find the bristlecones to be amazing in their forms and awe inspiring in their adaptability. The variation in growth pattern is pretty incredible and extremely photogenic. If I seem excessive in my description, I would suggest that you visit them and see if you can remain unmoved. They are truly a marvel.
While the low country has mostly melted out, the high country in the Olympic National Park is still carrying a lot of snow. The snowpack is above average, so hiking in the high country is not going to be accessible early in the summer (many areas probably not until mid-July).
Spring covers a wide range of changes to the forests and lowlands of the Olympic National Park. The high country doesn’t start being snow-free until summer … spring in the high country means snow travel. Lower down, the rivers can be running quite low … if the snow isn’t melting higher in the valleys and it’s not raining. The image above is at under 1000 feet elevation and shows the river running fairly low after a couple days of cool dry weather.
The image below shows a group of backpackers that had been up to Big Timber Camp on the West Fork of the Dosewallips. Big Timber is at 2300 feet and they reported 5 feet of hard packed snow at that point. You need good insulation between you and the ground to sleep on snow …
The image at the bottom shows the view up to the high country and the remaining snow in the trees. The area shown has melted out more, since it is open to the south and the sun is starting to do its thawing out trick.
This was along the Highway outside of Haines, Alaska. There had been just a dusting of snow, then it cleared off and some heavy frost locked the snow in place. This is along the river valley, so these are poplars, alders and such. The river meanders across the valley, favoring quick growing varieties of tree. No 400 year old cedars growing along there.
The road is in the hills southwest of Chelan, Washington. Once you’re on it, it’s a little hard to find a place to turn around. So, I just kept going. I ended up in an area that had been involved in a fire in the last year or so… and the shadows crossing the road were dramatic.