Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mount Goliath and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

As I promised in my last blog post--click here-- which was about Mount Evans--another one of my favorite places to visit in Colorado is the Mount Goliath Natural Area We always stop and visit this beautiful and interesting area on our ride down from the Mount Evans summit.

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This 160 acre area is home to over 250 species of alpine and subalpine wildflowers as well as a grove of bristlecone pine trees that are 900 to 2,000 years old!

The Mount Goliath Nature Area is managed in cooperation between Denver Botanic Gardens and the US Forest Service.  The Dos Chappell Nature Center on this site contains exhibits that interpret the plants, animals and trees that live at this extreme high mountain environment, as well as information about the history of the Mt Evans road construction, tourism and wilderness. The center is open daily from 10am to 5pm, weather and season permitting.

The bristlecone pine trees grow at the subalpine altitude of 11,540 feet (3,517m).  Bristlecone pine trees are the oldest living things on earth.  The oldest bristlecone pine tree is over 5,000 years old and is located in the White Mountains in California.  

Bristlecone pines only grow in the southern Rocky Mountains-they are not found in Rocky Mountain National Park. Their needles can live twenty to thirty years, and their bark is dense and highly resinous.  

Bristlecones can remain standing for hundreds of years after they die--it is only erosion or the decay of their supporting roots that allows them to fall.

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The M. Walter Pesman trail that is in this area was established in 1962, also as a joint venture between the Denver Botanic Gardens and the US Forest Service. 

The trail begins in the subalpine zone and extends up into the alpine tundra at 12,152 feet and is accessible at the nature center and from the Mt. Evans road towards the top. 

We did not walk the entire trail on this visit, as there was snow at the higher elevation when we visited in June, but we have done so in the past. 

The views from the summit of the trail are beautiful and...

...along the way there are many wildflowers to be seen

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In fact, the Mount Goliath Nature Area is full of wildflowers, which can been seen all along its trails.

Some of the many wildflowers we saw on our visit in June....

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...and a helpful placard on the site with the names of some of the more common wildflowers in bloom. This fragile natural garden only lasts for about 40 frost free days a year!

Even the spruce and fir trees in the Mount Goliath area display characteristics of  the German word "krummholtz," which means "crooked wood." The trees grow in clusters, and low to the ground to survive the fierce winds and snow that winter brings to this altitude.

It is amazing to touch the trunk of a Bristlecone tree and think of the hundreds, to thousands, of years that have passed while it has been alive! I almost feel transported back in time when I am near them.

Mount Goliath is a very special place to me and I hope you will feel the same if you visit it one day. 

Please remember the rules of the wilderness: "Take only photos, leave only footprints."  With the increase of visitors to Colorado, I am seeing more and more trash being left along trails and mountain tops, bags of dog excrement left behind, and even graffiti. Sadly, these acts of vandalism are also happening in the National Parks all across our land. 

It is up to all of us to be the stewards of these beautiful places and to protect and preserve them for future generations.

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Daniela said...

Dearest Pat,
I'm fascinated more and more by reading your stunning posts and watching the amazing places you visit, thank you for sharing them ... and for being so adorable, as well, you mean so much to me !!!

Wishing you a most lovely new week ahead,
with sincere thankfulness

XOXO Daniela

Mersad said...

Wonderful pine trees. Nature there is so gorgeous and the weather seems perfect.

Mersad Donko Photography

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I always enjoy my little trips with you - another beautiful post!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it is another beautiful piece of parkland. The trees are interesting and pretty. I love all the beautiful wildflowers and the gorgeous views. I always follow the wilderness rules, I wish people carry out their trash. I agree we need to protect and preserve these beautiful parks, lately it seem like we have to protect them from our own government. Sorry, to rattle on there. Wonderful post and beautiful photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a lovely post.
Your photographs are just wonderful and the views from the summit of the trail are amazing, so beautiful. Lovely to see the flowers too.
Thank you.

All the best Jan

Linda W. said...

Those are some hardy trees to live at that high altitude.

Snap said...

BEautiful! I love the bristlecones. I read your posts and I want to go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Gorgeous pictures indeed.

A Colorful World said...

Such stunning views! And I love those bristlecone pines!

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Amazing! I love that there are still snow on the mountain tops in August!
Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your special place with us at All Seasons!
Have seen these bristle cone Pines also in Yosemite. What strikes me is that the higher the elevation, the more one can see the effect of the weather in twisting the trunk and the branches - as a tree lover this is heaven! The light blue/purplish wild flowers are my favorite.
Have a lovely week, Pat:)

Tom said... sure looks different from the top of the world! Thanks for sharing these fabulous views, please come again.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Amazing scenes. Those crooked trees have a special character about them.I also love the delicate wildflowers.

Al said...

I do like those old trees - I've seen them several times hiking in the area.

Michelle said...

You showcase your state so well. These photos are gorgeous!

The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds like a fascinating place.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Those Bristlecone pines are so amazing -- I just stand and stare in awe. You took wonderful pictures. And I know I've told you before that I think wildflowers in Colorado are the best. Your mosaic of them is beautiful -- it would be a lovely cover for a memory book or diary.

Tanna said...

The Bristlecones are so majestic! I'm going to have to put seeing them on my bucket list. I am dismayed at the disrespect so prevalent in our society today. So disheartening. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and information, Pat! blessings ~ tanna

Lady Fi said...

Love all those trees.

Rambling Woods said...

I can see why it is such a special place...I would love to visit and see it in person...wonderful post Pat...Michelle

ellen b. said...

Such interesting trees and beautiful wildflowers!

Andrea said...

They are all beautiful, i love those almost bonsai trees, and oh those wildflowers. I would be ecstatic to take photos of all those. Thank you so much for the trip!

betty-NZ said...

What a lovely series of scenic shots! I do love to see what you see.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

wow - that is a fabulous place! And I am with you - take only photos! thank you for sharing yours

handmade by amalia said...

What a lovely place to visit. It looks huge.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Hi Pat, I loved learning about the trees and your photos are outstanding! The wildflowers are so pretty and the scenery is always gorgeous there. It's such a shame that people don't appreciate the beauty of the parks enough to take care of their own trash. Thanks for sharing another great adventure with us!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I didn't know about these trees, Pat. Your posts are always so instructive. It makes me mad that people leave trash in these beautiful places. Thanks for the beautiful post.

diane b said...

What an amazing place. Those trees are incredible. It must be wonderful to touch such an old living thing. So sad to hear that people are not respecting the NPs.

Michelle said...

Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Bristlecone Pines are amazing. Hard to get my head around how old they are! I like your wildflower photos, too. A great collection!

Angie said...

Pat - thanks for another gorgeous post about Colorado. I am a big fan of wildflowers and so the mosaic and the information board about the flowers were highlights for me. I am SO with you on the trash issue - when we are hiking, we always carry a garbage bag with us so we can pick up any garbage we find along the way. Have a great week!

Ruth said...

This is fantastic! I didn't know there were bristlecone pines outside California (I have never seen the ones in here). There is a girl at work who has the krummholtz last name. I wander if she knows what it means.

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

I have learned of so many beautiful places to see in Co thanks to you! Hoping to get to some of these. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

AngieOuellette-Tower said...

This fantastic post is a GARDEN feature on the September You're the STAR blog hop: