Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

Bristlecone Pine, Chaffee County

I was winded, feeling the altitude–uncharacteristically–of the strenuous hike, but it could also have been the surroundings that were stealing my breath. Dead trees littered the ground amidst others still standing as upright mausoleums, their white and cement-hard skeletons tactile adventures as my fingers gently moved across their bases. But as I looked to the east in a boulder-strewn slope, a handful of trees unlike any other on this earth, a species most anyone will be unlikely ever to see in person, held stubbornly against time and weather as they have for a millennia.

Elated, I scrambled up the rockfall for several hundred feet to the top of the slope, and the aura of this tree–this tree!–that was a sapling long before the First Crusade, perhaps even as the Roman Empire stood united, enveloped me and overwhelmed my senses, for I knew I was in the presence of an ancient.


    1. Very kind of you! I hadn’t expected the trees would have such an effect on me, but just being around them, I feel….very, very young and temporary.

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