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A Special Gem, Thousands of Years in the Making

January 31, 2013 at 5:11 PM | by | ()

We love The Strip, but we also love the awesome outdoor adventures that can be had, in many cases, not too far away. After sharing our trip to Mount Charleston, VegasChatter reader David M. reached out to us with some added input that we thought was important to share with everyone.

The Spring Mountains are a larger mountain range of which Mount Charleston is the tallest and thus best known. Although, they are found throughout the mountain range, we hadn't mentioned its really neat standouts. Sometimes you don't realize what you missed until it's too late. And, in the interest of ensuring it doesn't happen to you, we introduce the region's unique Bristlecone Pine Trees, as shown throughout this article thanks to the photography skills of David M. These trees, which only grow in a few select places in the world, chose right here smack in the middle of the Las Vegas mountain range to grace us with their presence.

What makes these trees so different you ask? Well, they are among some of the oldest trees in existence, some have been confirmed as more than 4,000 years old. Some of the pine needles themselves last on the branches of these trees for upwards of 45 years! But, perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of these trees are their visual appearance, growing in awkward offshoots that give it the creepy "Sleepy Hollow" look.

Bristlecone pines grow as most others do. But, the inner part dies faster that the outside can regenerate in some cases, leaving the half dead look. These trees are very unique and, due to many factors, have been red listed as being at an increased risk of extinction. But, having said that, it is interesting to note that these trees, even when dead, can stand for an additional 7,000 years!

So, when we were passing through the Spring Mountains, we no doubt passed these majestic trees. (It's not like they are a new addition.) However, we obviously didn't know what it was we were missing. So, when you next have time, head out to Mount Charleston, or any other part of the mountain range, and check out these beauties. We sure will.

Have an outdoor adventure you're interested in or would like to rave about? Send us an email about it!

(PHOTOS: David M. on Flickr)

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