Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest


After a sunny breakfast we drive a few miles more up the road to Sierra View, at about 9000 feet. Shortly beyond that the road is closed. The place is well named. This is the best profile of the High Sierra I’ve ever seen.

We walk a few miles up the snow-bound road to the equally snow-bound Schulman grove visitor center. There are a bunch of excellent information displays here – with the exception of one explaining how ‘spiritual’ the place is. Why not stick to the facts and let me enjoy it my way?


These trees are oldest known living things on the planet, some of them attaining an age of 5,000 years. They’ve been studied extensively by dendrochronologists, who use the rings in the tree trunks to determine age. I thought dendrochronology was made obsolete by carbon dating, but it turns out these trees were used to make a significant correction to carbon dating that made many archeological and historical theories obsolete.

There are many other interesting facts posted around too. Ann notices the record gust windspeed on White Mountain last October: 153 mph.

7 responses to “Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest”

  1. 1 – yes. without a doubt, that panorama is the best i’ve seen. it’s what i have been trying to achieve with my pics.. you did. it’s an amazing shot. i love it. wow. .. amazing. AAAAAAAAAAMAZING.

    2 – the “spiritual” thing is part of the pantheistic / mother earth / gaia movement thing that is going on. it’s earth worshipping ideals.
    i got into it with a earth worshipper over bouldering. he claimed that “…not one bush, plant or lichen should be harmed so i can do an ascent of a boulder. If i ever find out about you doing this, I will report you or anyone else to the proper authorities.”
    plain and simple. people are losing their sense of reality, their sense of perspective. the ideal is to keep people OFF… well, unless your a researcher, then you can get it. it’s sick.

    3 – carbon dating is not considered an accurate method of dating. it’s still used as a backup method. i haven’t heard of carbon dating used on trees, as ring analysis is the proven / most accurate method. carbon dating was used a lot on ancient tools/clothing but its margin of error was open to gross innaccuracies.
    i can’t remember the name of the more accepted method of testing age, though there are 2 are more widely accepted. in stuff that was “living”, calculating CO2 concentrations are more accurate.

    well, i have never been up there but can’t wait to go.
    i still can’t get over that panorama.
    you did a magnificent job on gluing all those pics together. what a shot.

  2. oh my god!
    dude, i tried to copy/paste the pic and i can’t do it.
    so, i tried copying it to a Word doc. OH MAN! you gotta see it. the whole things is there, it’s just hella compressed. has a crazy affect.
    still, i don’t know why i can’t copy this pic as a .jpg… is that some sort of deal with the site that protects the pics from being copied?

  3. Thanks – I am stoked on this pic also. Try right-clicking on the full image and doing a Save As…, or on the thumbnail and Save Target As… There is no copy protection on it – but you never know what Windows will protect you from.

    They did carbon dating on the trees to compare it with the ring method, and so found a correcting function you can apply to carbon dating to fix at least one type of inaccuracy.

    5,000 years still boggles my mind. I wonder how many times a tree that old has cycled through completely different sets of atomic particles composing its matter?

  4. Oh, and Earth worshippers. I am sort of one myself, as someone who prizes and finds wonder in the diversity of nature on our planet. But I wouldn’t try to pass my values off as facts, or proselytize, and certainly not on a public-funded display.

  5. “… certainly not public-funded displays.”
    yes, this is the truth. for real. amen.

    i can’t wait to go. the spiritual thing.. you know, at least i assume you know, there are places that you kind of want to wait to with someone ‘special’.. to get that extra “spiritual” feeling. this has been one. i just hope i am NOT 5,000 years old when that happens!

    the pic is amazing. i love how you said ~”.. this is the best panorama ..”
    i love it. i am gonna send you the Word thing. it’s crazy weird. the effect is cool.
    i gotta get that pic.
    i also need the dark one of jezzedonk and anne in marble. that’s magazine cover quality no dig dog diggity doubt.

    anne… yer silly. yer not fat… but whatever fat IS on there, well, don’t worry, it’ll be gone on that trip. heheeeeeeeeeee!!!

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