The Methuselah Grove~

The Great Basin Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in The White Mountains of California/Nevada have the world’s oldest living non-clonal organisms, ancient bristlecone pine trees. Non-clonal means these trees are not genetic duplicates of a parent organism, but are in fact, original organisms.
The oldest known tree in the basin is 5,065 years old and was germinated in 3051 BC. This tree started growing before the first pyramid was built-in Egypt.

Another, Methuselah, is 4,848 years old.

The White Mountains run parallel to the Sierras in the west and Death Valley in the east.

White Mountain is a sister peak to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental US. When you hike here you look to your left at almost eye level with Mt. Whitney, and to your right at the lowest non-submerged place in North America, Death Valley.

In the dolomite covered White Mountains these ancient organisms continue to thrive in white powdery soil that was once an ancient sea bed.

When you touch the non-bark covered cambium layer of these ancient ones, it is like touching living stone. Something you have never felt before.

The bristlecones survive possibly because they live in an isolated hostile location, which makes them strong, and creates the almost impervious density of their stone-like structure.
To say that I was blown away by being here is a huge understatement.
I am hoping the lack of protection afforded the ancient ones is purposeful. They are hard to get to, even harder to hike to, and not very many people know about them. Plus, for much of the year, due to winter snow, they are inaccessible.
There is nothing here but these living fossils.
I never knew about these trees, even though I have driven near them all my life to go skiing, and now I can’t even imagine the world without them.
Cheers to you from the ancient ones~

359 thoughts on “The Methuselah Grove~

    1. Some of them grow out of sold rock! I can just imagine the winds whipping up from The Sierras and Death Valley twisting these trees into these tortured, other-worldly shapes over the course of time~

  1. Imagine, these trees were alive when the Pharaohs walked the Earth, even before the Great Pyramids was built.
    Always amazing stories and photos now even dazzle the mind.
    Beautiful Cindy, just beautiful

  2. How spectacular, Cindy! I’ve never heard of these beautiful trees before, so thank you for educating me. So many splendid things in our world, huh?!

  3. I was absolutely blown away by this, Cindy. Beautiful images and fascinating study. I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of reverence as I looked at those ancient trees.

  4. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of the Methuselah trees. They are regal and beautiful and I am glad that they are mostly protected by their location and the weather. I hope they will still be standing in another 5,000 years.

  5. These ancient trees are not only fascinating but beautiful; their history is amazing, I have never heard of them before Cindy so thank you for sharing the information and awesome photos of them. Now I want to see them for myself and experience what you felt as you walked through these majestic and incredible trees!

    1. I so hope you do visit them. It will leave a lasting impresssion. They may not be able to talk, but they communicate a sense of the sacred. I am so glad you feel about them as I do Barb~ <3 🌲

      1. They fascinate me Cindy – I’m just checking them out on Google for more info, although nothing I have found so far compares with the information in your blog.

  6. Both beautiful and amazing. I didn’t know there was a whole grove of them; I’ve only ever seen one or two, and nothing as spectacular as that first tree.

    1. There are so many of them that it is really impossible to say which tree is actually the oldest. There could be one older than Prometheus which was cut down in the 1960’s by a misguided scientist.

  7. That must have been a spiritual experience, Cindy! Quantum physicists have been trying to teach us that even rock is a living organism and can obviously continue to allow life in that remote and barren region. I will never hike to that area and am grateful you took such impressive photos. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I did something I essentially have never done. There were two women hiking near us and talking loudly and absolutely non-stop about inconsequential things. As we approached the ancient grove, I asked them if we could be silent so as to fully appreciate the experience. This was rude of me, but this is a deeply spiritual place, and I couldn’t pollute the experience with idle chatter. Thank you for sensing and knowing this. I wonder why they bothered to go.🌲

      1. There were there to shine the light for you on how truly sacred it was. Contrast makes us appreciate things more. It was not rude and I do hope they appreciated your cautioning them. 🙂 Maybe they could finally get a bit of that as well.

      2. “Contrast makes us appreciate things more.” This is true isn’t it. I never thought of this before. Contrast and difference do shine a light and certainly make us pay more attention. Thank you for this interpretation.

  8. That is amazing. As I was reading, I want to touch the trees. I am glad you did and described what you felt. I completely understand your felling seeing/touching the oldest living things there.

    1. It amazes that I didn’t know about these trees for most of my life. Seeing them felt like a miraculous surprise. Gobsmacked is exactly the right word and is still just how we feel. Thank you for understanding this! 🌲 <3

  9. Reblogged this on Meeka's Mind and commented:
    The world truly is full of wonders and these thousands [yes – MULTIPLE thousands] of year old trees are amazing. They make our technological world and everything in it feel…irrelevant.

    1. We really have no idea how old the oldest tree might be because as you mention there is a forest of them and it is difficult to guess age by appearance alone. We know how old the oldest “known” tree is, but the forest still retains her mystery and this is wonderous beyond words. I am grateful that you feel about them as I do.

      1. To be honest, I had no idea that something so wonderful still existed in our rush, rush, technological world. Those trees are like something out of a fairytale.

    1. There is no good excuse for me since I have driven by their turn off hundreds of times. Maybe their existance is not heavily publicized which is probably a good thing.

      1. Yes. I was fascinated to learn later of the legendary curse that has reportedly afflicted the scientists who have cut into these trees. Reminds me of the curse of The Pharoahs tombs!

    1. It’s basically ancient decomposed sea bed that was uplifted when the teutonic plates scraped against each other raising the sea bed to 14K+ feet. It’s alkaline and harsh for things to grow in. These trees seem to survive for millenia because their environment is so harsh, which is fascinating to ponder isn’t it!

  10. Love how gnarly these trees are! It’s interesting about the ancient sea bed because the Methuselah look like driftwood to me, only much larger, stronger, and hardier. I really must get myself out there to experience the tactile sensation for myself. Thanks Cindy for this amazing bit about life that’s been around longer than much of what we can even remember! <3

    1. They do look like driftwood don’t they! When they die, because they are so impervious and tough they often remain standing like sculptures. There is a sculpture garden of dead trees that is visually striking. I do hope you go Lynn and hug a tree, or three, for me! 🌳 🌳 🌳

  11. Stunning! I’d heard of them, and a long time ago seen a couple of black and white pictures of them. It must have been amazing to see them in real life. I hope they remain hidden, or some idiot might chop them down for firewood.

    1. Or cover them in grafitti art, or carve their initials in them, and steal a branch for their mantle. What really amazes me is that no human has destroyed them yet, although a scientist did cut down the oldest recorded one. It is really amazing that these trees have survived human destruction for so long.It is probably because they are inconvenient to get to.

    1. WP put about ten comments from my blogging friends in spam. I heard another blogger say this happened to them, so I checked spam, and it happened to me too. Thank you so much for your kind words and I am sorry I almost missed them!

      1. Me too, I have the habit to check the spam, because there was some of the comments put by WP in this place, I wonder why
        Thank you so much
        Have a very nice tuesday Cindy

    1. I was amazed by this tree growing out of solid rock. It takes these trees hundreds of years to grow to a small tree and they can only grow in inhospitable soil and harsh conditons. If you plant them in your garden, they will die of root rot. Ignore them and they grow forever!

  12. The first photo took my breath away. I love photos of trees, especially ones like this. I will use it, and maybe some of the others, in a future GreenFriends newsletter.

    I came to your blog this time to invite you to look at the Wordless Wednesday photo I put up today. I think you will like it. I’m doing new things with my blog. I know that it is photographs like yours that make me ever more interested in photography.

    1. Thank you so much for championing these trees! They deserve our love and care. I will head over forthwith to see your new photography and look forward to it! 🌳

    1. I am so happy you appreciate the trees and I do hope you go and visit them. I’d love to go back in winter in snow shoes but the road most likely will be closed. 🌳 🌳

  13. If there was a possibility to fly over there tonight – I would. LOVE these! How incredibly lucky you are to have found them, seen them, touched them…You do not understand how much I envy you! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Yes! I want you to come and visit them! 🌳🌳 For both my husband and I it was a reverential experience. I can’t believe I live in the same state and have never seen them. Thank you so much for appreciating the wonder of the ancient ones Leya and be well my dear friend~

  14. Wow! Never heard of these trees… ! Some of them look like they will roll up their roots and start walking around… fascinating! Just imagine they could talk… I think I’d pick up my roots and go and live with them to listen and learn…

      1. I had seen a documentary about the plants/trees proactive defenses quite some time ago… It is indeed a matter of learning their language, isn’t it… 🙂

        But I’m afraid it will take me a few more lives to get to that point… :-/

  15. Hi Cindy! I always see something fabulous here and today I’m learning something fabulous too. Thanks for blowing my mind this morning, I’m glad I made myself a double Latte, LOL Holy snap! 3051 BC !! Congratulations on getting up there for these awesome photo’s. I’m really glad it’s inaccessible, mankind has a way of spoiling the most wondrous gifts mother nature gives us. xb

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderous find with us and I too am glad it’s hard to get to so they can continue to survive in peace. Hope you are safe from the horrific fires racing through Southern California.

    1. Thank you. I haven’t read the news today, it is too upsetting. We went through evacuation eight years ago at our former home in the burbs and now all these years later conditions are so much worse. I hope the ancient ones remain untouched.

  17. Such beauty ~ twisted beauty ~ of these trees and the landscape you have captured Cindy. Unreal and it almost feels like a different planet looking at these photos. Incredible, and I hope one day to sit and admire such a view 🙂

  18. How fortunate you are to have experienced these ancient ones, Cindy. I have great reverence for these sacred trees and hope someday to see them for myself. Such a gift!

  19. I love the trees, each with a unique personality. Wandering among them creates a sense of humility, Cindy, at least for me. They provide their own definition of tough. I also think they have great beauty (which you captured). Have I raved enough? The view isn’t bad either: two of my favorite places— Death Valley and the High Sierra! Thanks for sharing. –Curt

  20. Cindy!
    Oh! These are wonderful trees and a sight.
    They to seems to be witness to many thousands of years.
    Because of their isolation they are still able to get to see.
    Posts on your capture.

  21. What an interesting learning experience. I love trees and am always on the hunt for intriguing ones. Thank you for sharing your tree safari. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. <3

  22. Wow, I had no idea about them either and feel happy that they are FAR from the madding crowds. I will never see them, I am not a hiker but like you it feels comforting to know they exist and are alive. And that interesting correlation etween hardship and longevity. A very inspiring and informative post – thank you… c

    1. Yes, fascinating isn’t it. They survive possibly because the hostility of their environment makes them impervious and strong. If we plant them in our garden they will die of comfort ie., root rot. It’s interesting to think about the analogy with humans. We die sometimes of over comfort too, ie., couch potato life styles, over eating of high caloric “comfort” foods, over imbibing etoh, exposure to emf’s and chemical by products etc etc, all designed to make us more comfortable.

  23. This was a touching tribute to the origins of an ancient “tribe” of trees, Cindy. I absolutely loved the history and scientific details~ you could tell they moved you very much! xo hugs!

  24. Those are truly strange trees. At first, we thought that they were previously hit by lightning or something, which explains the blackened bark. Only when we read the entire post did we realize that the methuselahs were really intact.

    We have a similar grove like that, consisting of trees that died because they are near a natural solfatara; they were suffocated by the sulfur.

  25. ¡Qué árboles tan impresionantes! Seguramente se han conservado gracias a estar en una zona inaccesible. Si fuese una zona de fácil acceso el turismo se los habría tragado. Mejor que sigan aislados y así seguirán siendo unos supervivientes. Abrazos Cindy, y sigue disfrutando de estas maravillas <3

  26. Cindy, this was a great post. I got so excited I had to see exactly where these trees were and was surprised to find it was at Big Basin National Park. I had seen the cut off to this park off the 15 freeway but didn’t really know what it was all about. As a result of your post I have been exploring it online and my husband and I are talking about when we can get out there. Thanks again, Jan

    1. My brother is going now too! I think it is important for conservation minded people to visit these trees. Once you experience them, you will be emotionally invested in protecting them. There are other bristlecone pine forests. The oldest trees are not in the Natonal Park (go figure). The Methusula Grove is in the White Mountains in California. We accessed The Grove from off of the 395 near Big Pine California. Google Ancient Bristlecone Forest and you will find information on this grove and how to reach it. I do hope you go and post about your experience of this sacred place~

  27. Pingback: Blogbummel August 2016 – Teil 1 – buchpost

  28. What amazing trees. Even though we don’t understand it, in our short lives, they live in a way quite different from us. Their thoughts would be worth knowing, with such long lives. Perhaps we wouldn’t be capable of using advice they gave us. Their best protection is that no clever person has thought of a use for them.

    1. And so far they have not inconvenienced humans by growing somewhere we want to develop, or having wood we want to harvest. I just heard the entire Washington state wolf pack is going to be shot for eating cows. God forbid they eat cows. We want to eat these cows. Most humans don’t change, unfortunately.

      1. Oh, that is sad about the wolves. I have some sympathies for ranchers because they operate on a margin. So many people take a slice of the beef profit. Any loss of stock eats up the margin that they keep as profit. I was staying in a B&B in Scotland once, and the owner’s cow died. Fell in a stream, broke a leg and drown. She was devastated. Wept and howled. I feel like weeping and howling for the wolves, too, though. It’s a hard old world.

    1. I love bloggers for this same reason! I always see, learn, or read something new and wonderful from bloggers. When you think about this for awhile you realize this doesn’t happen in any other published media forum, which is why I love bloggers and blogging! <3

  29. Bonjour CINDY super ces photos dont les arbres peuvent avoir beaucoup de formes

    je passe comme promis sur ton joli blog

    Je te dépose un rayon de lumière

    tendresse et bonheur

    Ton blog j’aime le feuilleté lire tes écris , tes poèmes tes montages ou autres toujours un énorme plaisir de découvrir tes nouveautés

    Passe une très belle journée que ce soit en famille enfants ou entre amis

    Bisous amitié


  30. Coucou Mon AMIE CINDY

    Je viens te chanter la ballade des bisous
    je viens faire une ballade des bisous

    Pour te montrer que je ne t’oublie pas

    1)Mon premier sera un bisou tout rond
    Juste sur le front

    2)Mon deuxième sera un bisou tous doux
    Sur les deux joues

    3)Mon troisième sera bisou délicieux
    Sur tes deux yeux

    4)Mon quatrième sera un bisou fripon
    Sur ton menton

    5)Rien de plus beau que de recevoir quelques bisous


    Je pense que tu auras appréciée (é)

    J’aime plaisanter ne soit pas vexée (é)
    Pour que ta SOIREE soit plus que reposante


  31. Pat Hardy

    I think the wood of these ancient trees is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. So glad they are hard to get too. May they stand forever.

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