Without question, stone pines are quite appealing figures in high Alpine mountain forests, braving storm and inclement weather in fairly exposed locations. Bizarre tree roots and trunks deformed but not destroyed by strokes of lightning. Although a huge forest fire happened in Obergurgl’s Stone Pine Forest in 1880, the biggest trees are about 400 years old.
On my walking tour I stop for a moment and imagine the ancient stories a stone pine tree could tell me. Young trees have tap roots for soaking up water. In the course of the years the tree also develops lateral roots towards the rocky surface. And finally “pinus cembra” tentacles bigger than my upper thigh cling firmly to the blocky soil, withstanding also heavy storm gusts.