Settled in the White Mountains of Inyo County in Eastern California is the divine majesty of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest – the home of the oldest recorded trees. One such tree is known as Methuselah in Schulman Grove and dated to be 4,847 years old. Once recorded as the oldest non-clonal (vegetative reproduction) organism, the Methuselah was superseded by a subspecies of the ancient bristlecone known as the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine which has been documented at 5,066 years old. Dendrologists have said that the trees living in this forest are a millennium older than the ones occupying Sequoia. The Ancient Bristlecone are said to have grown during the times of stone axes in Europe, the building of the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the cuneiform clay tablets in the Northern Syria.
The breathtaking Ancient Bristlecone is one of three species of pine trees highly resistant to bad soil and harsh weather conditions, giving them the opportunity to thrive for thousands of years. In fact, these trees, like cacti, were evolutionarily modified to survive less than harsh conditions, and flourish where other plants typically do not such as outcrops of dolomite and alkaline calcareous low nutrient soil. Bristlecone Pine trees are typically found in locations of high altitude, and areas that produce barren, desert-type weather in the Western United States. However, due to the lack of nourishment that goes in to producing other species of plants, the Bristlecone Pine grow very slowly.
Much like cacti, the Bristlecone Pine is a species of tree whose roots aid in the production of water retention. The famous copper colored wood that makes these trees so recognizable are resistant to what could have been an overwhelming invasion of insects, fungi, and other potential pests due to their dense and resinous nature. The lastingness of the trees are partially owed to the wood itself due to its durability. The Bristlecone Pine, long after they have passed, can still stand on their roots for centuries after the fact. The twisted shapes the Bristlecone are known for, come from after death, where the exposed wood erode to stone like structures due to the wind, the rain, and freezing temperatures which in turn creates unusual forms and shapes that leave witnesses in absolute wonder.
An hour drive to the east of Bishop, the ancient pine forest is one of the many natural activities in mammoth you wouldn’t want to miss. Here at Nomadness, we encourage you to visit the forest of the oldest living trees in the world and relish in the truth of what Mother Nature can create.
Unwind at the end of the day in a timeless rental cabin that is bound to sweep you off your feet. With the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and the neighborhood feel in Mammoth’s small town, renting with us and traveling to Mammoth is the number one way to ensure the quality vacation you and your family so wholeheartedly deserve.