Bristlecone pine tree under the canopy of the Milky Way Galaxy
Bristlecone pine trees are some of the oldest living things in the world. They are found at very high elevations usually above 9000 feet. They prefer soil rich in dolomite. Dolomite has a high concentration of calcium magnesium carbonate (very alkaline) and only very few species can grow in this soil. Bristlecone pines thrive in this harsh environment. This particular forest is part of the Inyo National Forest in California. Getting there is easy. Take highway 168 just north of Big Pine. Follow Hwy 168 east 13 miles to White Mountain Road. Turn left (north) and drive 10 miles to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. There is a $3 fee. If your pressed for time take the Discovery trail (1 mile) which is shorter but has two of the most famous photogenic trees. This tree had been dead for a while. This living tree ( 3000-4000 yrs old) sits right next to the dead tree. The Methuselah Trail is 4.5 miles long and has an elevation gain of 900 feet. This trail takes you to the world’s oldest tree. The tree is estimated to be 4,743 years old and not marked to avoid vandalism. This is a view looking south from the Methuselah Trail. Patriarch Grove Take the gavel road for 12 miles from Schulman Grove . The Patriarch Gove has the largest Bristlecone pine tree in the world. It is well-marked on the Timberline Ancients Nature Trail. Elevation here is at least 11, 000 feet. If you walk southwest from the parking lot for less than 1/4 mile you come across several very photogenic pine trees. This brings me to the title picture that is displayed above. In the next post I will talk about planning and making this shot. Stay tuned.