Here’s where we took a breather. Between the two horses, you can see the ridge we were aiming for.
Before we even reached the ridge, we began seeing limber pine:
and then another evergreen that we thought was bristlecone. When we found an actual cone, we saw the expected bristles and knew we'd guessed right.
Then, on top of another ridge, at over 9000 feet, we came upon a small forest of bristlecone pines.
Many of them were large trees, perhaps 2 feet in trunk diameter. The oldest known living trees are bristlecone pines. Some in Inyo National Forest, California, have lived as long as 4600 years, and they grow in white, powdery limestone substrate soils. No way to know how old the ones we saw were, but they’re very slow growing in the dry, inhospitable areas they inhabit, so these had surely been around for many centuries.
Here is a very old one with lots of character:
The views from the ridge were pretty nice, too.
Our ride overall was 13.5 miles, 3400 feetelevation gain and loss, in 3.5 hours moving time, an excellent workout for the boys.