High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.
Those Ponderosa Pine are magnificent.
Curiously enough, they are Jeffrey Pine, but very similar to Ponderosa. Strikingly similar bark but it's the cones that give it away. "prickly ponderosa" versus "gentle jeffrey". The terminal umbo of the ponderosa will stick in your hand but the jeffrey cones won't. The smell of the bark is also different, ponderosa being resinous while jeffrey smells thick and sweet, kind of like a cheap scented candle.
At that elevation on the north aspect, ponderosa is not too common but it is more so on the south aspect as it tolerates drought better than jeffrey. However, i would contend there are places in northern california where jeffrey and ponderosa hybrids exist.
Those high elevation California forests are unique and so beautiful. Not at all like ours, but glorious all the same.