Drive to Bristlecone Pine Forest
Scenic Overlook near Bristlecone Pine Forest
Bristlecone Pine Forest on Mountaintop
Photographing a 3,000-year-old Bristlecone Pine
Bristlecone Pine and Sky
Bristlecone Pine and Icy Bluff
Bristlecone Pine and Storm
Gnarly Bristlecone Pine
Tall Bristlecone Pine
Bristlecone Pine Sapling
Bristlecone Pine Covered with Cones
Purple Pine Cone with Sap
Polished Wood of Bristlecone Pines on Rocky Slope
Magic is the word to describe the feeling you have walking among the oldest trees on Earth! Bristlecone pines grow in the White Mountains of California on white dolomite (limestone) slopes at 10,000-12,000 feet. The oldest (unmarked) tree is “Methuselah”, which is 4,844 years old. Just imagine – this tree was growing when the Pyramids were being built!
The trees are twisted and gnarled by the elements at this high elevation. Blowing wind and ice sculpts and polishes the wood. Sometimes almost all of the pine is dead, except for a single strip of bark connecting a root to a living branch. The trees are named for the bristles or spines on their cones. The pretty purple cones are often covered in sticky sap.
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is only open a few months of the year because of snow and ice. This trip is worth the wait – it is unforgettable. We felt privileged to visit such an awe-inspiring place. More info is at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5129900