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Photo of the Day: Ancient Bristlecone Pine

Full moon over an ancient bristlecone pine

Full moon over an ancient bristlecone pine

At over 4,700 years old, the Ancient Bristlecone Pines are the oldest living trees in the world. They are found in the higher elevations of mountains in the American Southwest — California, Nevada, and Utah. The oldest trees live above 10,000 feet in extreme conditions where soil, nutrients and moisture are scarce, and winters come packed with 200 mph winds and minus 30 degree temperatures. Ones that live in more hospitable conditions do not live as long.

In California you can find a large forest full of them at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains near Big Pine. There are two groves in this forest. You’ll first arrive at Schulman Grove on the southern slope of the mountain. Here, the trees average 1,000 years old. An unpaved road leads to the more remote Patriarch Grove on the northern slope where they average 2,000 years old.

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