Visiting the Bristlecone Pines is because of Galen Rowell. See, they are some of the oldest living things on the planet. They live for centuries, with a short growing season and with a bunch of adaptations for having an incredibly slow metabolism to conserve every last resource. They thrive where other trees won't.
I like to think of them as zombie trees. See, the tree allows huge chunks of itself to die over time and just leaves a little bit of itself alive. So they are kind of half-dead. Like zombies.
We were up at 10,000 ft, which is altitude sickness zone.