Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bristlecone Pine Forest

We are on the road again.  We left Frazier Park yesterday and headed up Highway 395 along the back side (east side) of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  This side is very different from the west side as the mountains rise sharply and it is very dry here.

We stopped in Big Pine and found a campsite in an Inyo County campground.  We have no hookups so we had to run the generator and air conditioner to cool off.  The temperatures are in the high 80's to low 90's so we are finally able to thaw out from our experience in Frazier Park.

Today we drove up to see the Bristlecone Pine forest near the 10,000 foot summit of the White Mountains.  The road was very steep, narrow, twisty and not the best place for a truck like ours, but we made it.  We were concerned that it would be too cold on top for the motorcycle because the road only opened two weeks ago, but it would have been no problem.  There are only a few small patches of snow left.

The Bristlecone Pines were very interesting.  The are the oldest living things on earth and only found in a few remote places in this area.  The trees we saw on our short hike were about 4,000 years old.  The hike to the area where the oldest trees, about 5,000 years old, was still covered with snow according to the sign.  I suspect I would have a difficult time telling the difference.

We took some pictures so if you are interested you can follow the link to Bristle Cone Pine Forest.


  1. Those trees are sure interesting. They look like they have struggled to survive for a long time.

    I can't wait to go hiking in the Sierra's again.

  2. Do most of the Bristlecone trees not have any bark?

  3. All the live ones do but it is sometimes only a band a few inches wide that winds around the tree. There are often dead areas in a living tree. Dead trees tend to stand a long time due to the very dense and high resin content wood. You can imagine how dense the wood is when you consider that there are thousands of rings in a couple feet. I took a lot of pictures of dead trees just because they look neat.

  4. Nice. I always imagine the trees as being scrub in size -- 10 - 15 feet tall. But unless Dianna has shrunk a lot, they are much taller than that.

    I had heard that the location of the oldest tree in the world was kept secret, to prevent vandalism or sample taking, but the sign in the picture indicates that it is marked.

  5. I agree; they do look neat.