The oldest trees.

Standing in the White Mountains, California, USA

The oldest trees in the world in the White Mountains, looking east.
White Mountains looking east

The Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva ) are the oldest trees and grow at 3000 to 3400 m altitude, just below the tree line. The secret of their longevity is the harsh environment and the alkaline, nutrient-poor dolomite hilltop on which they grow. The dolomite rock is wetter than the surrounding sandstone and its light colour reflects solar radiation for a cooler root zone. The challenging growing conditions also have positive aspects. Humans could reach the remote site poorly. Competing plants are not present and the risk of forest fire is very low due to the lack of ground vegetation. The ecosystem is almost free of fungi and pests.

The oldest trees in the world. This image has probably not changed for hundreds of years.
Time seems to stand still here. Awe. Peace.

The annual rings of the pines can only be seen under a microscope, 120 cm in diameter in 4000 years. The oldest trees in this unreal, fascinating landscape are 4700-5100 years old. Next to them are dead trees that are perfectly preserved and over 7000 years old. Living specimens were therefore already 500 years old when the pyramids of Giza were built. These species are not clonal species of a mother plant, but individuals that have actually reached this age. Therefore, they are the oldest trees in this category.

They are looking at 5000 years right now. The oldest trees. At the time of germination, the preliminary building application for the pyramids had not even been made.
The colours of nature somehow always harmonise.

A visit to the oldest trees is undoubtedly one of the highlights of a visit to the southwest of the USA, and not only for someone with an affinity for trees. Moreover, this meeting can be made even more unforgettable if you travel from the "Valley of Death" to the "Mountain of Life" in one day. That's how we did it, and it's indelibly etched in the brain.

If you want to go there, remember to have a full tank of fuel and plenty of water, as is necessary everywhere in the south-west of the USA. Fuel and Water is the Law. The Schulman Visitor Center can be reached in about 1 hour from Big Pine. The road is well paved up to there and is really fun with 420 kg of Harley heavy metal.

You drive east from Big Pine on CA 168 for about 13 miles. Then turn left onto White Mountain Road. Now follow a winding mountain passage for about 10 miles and cover almost 2000 metres in altitude! This is how it should be. An adequate approach to the oldest trees in the world.