It’s a hard life

It’s a tough life at 2000 m – yellowing needles on a tiny lodgepole pine on the way to Vantage Peak.

Picking our way back down through the rocks and shrubs after summiting Vantage Peak, I was struck by this little pine tree eking out its existence between some rocks. I particularly liked how it made a nice little counterpoint to the enormous glaciated mountain in the background. Normally these trees have deep green needles but I’m guessing that up here at 2000 m, the soil has less water and fewer nutrients to keep those needles green. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate just how tough these plants have to be to survive in these high mountain environments, and that we as hikers/scramblers/mountaineers can only ever be transient guests.

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