USA/CA: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Just opposite the Sierra mountain range with some of the tallest peaks in the USA, rise the ranges of White Mountains, dry and desolate. It’s here, at an elevation of above 10-11,000 feet, where the oldest living trees on earth grow – the Bristlecone Pine. I’ve seen them before in Nevada, but here the bristlecone pine grows are massive with thousands of healthy trees, some of them over 4,000 years old! Many treees exhibit spectacular growth forms of twisted and beautifully colored wood. It’s a bit tough hiking around here in thin air as every step is an effort, but the spectacular trees are well worth the effort (including a long and twisting rough gravel road to get to the Patriarch Grove for the highest concentration of the trees). Patriarch Grove is also home to the world’s largest bristlecone pine, the Patriarch Tree. The utter remoteness and moonscape appearance gives the Patriarch Grove a surreal atmosphere of another planet. The oldest tree on earth grows here as well at the nearby grove, clocking in at 4,862 years old. The previous record-holding tree died in 2013 at the age of 5,065!