On top of Sentinel Dome is a very famous Jeffrey Pine tree. It is one of the most photographed trees in the world. You can see it here with this cowboy. It is dead and on the ground now but it is still very popular. It was 425 years old when it died during a serious drought in 1976.
I told you all of that to tell you about a cousin tree that lives not far from that famous tree. It is also a Jeffrey Pine and is dwarfed and blown over by the wind much like the original tree. This tree is smart or lucky, however you want to look at it.
Most trees don't have an opportunity to grow on Sentinel Dome because of snow and ice shear. Ice shear takes place during the winter and the spring when snow and ice moves over the rock from the force of the wind, gravity, or ice melt and the combination of all three. Nothing has an opportunity to grow.
This tree is lucky because it planted its roots in a flat level ledge with high rock borders above and below it. How smart is that? The snow and ice still moves, but it moves over it and does not shear it off at the surface of the rock dome. This little tree has been surviving this way probably for centuries. It is old but small because it is under constant attack by the wind. It is in a perfect location to survive.
The picture of the big normal tree below is to illustrate a point. The two trees are probably about the same age. Under normal conditions, this little tree could be big and tall like this normal tree. However, the little tree is disabled. It has to adapt and adjust to its disability. It has to "live within its means". Perhaps this little tree could teach a life lesson to all of us.
|425 year old Jeffrey Pine that died 1976.|
|Cousin Jeffrey tree surviving under ice|
|Illustrating how tree avoids ice shear by lying on ground on shelf.|
|This is what this little tree could have looked like had it grown somewhere else.|