One of the surreal moments during my epic 13 1/2-hour Baldy photography hike came when I came across this tree. I had been already on my way down after reaching the peak (10,064 feet), which was a whole other world. The clouds on this slope were swirling in and out of the sparsely populated trees whenever the gale-force winds swept through. The bitter cold winds slapped my face like biting whips. All I could think of was to find somewhere to stay out of the winds. Then, the harrowing screams of the gales suddenly stop pounding at my ears. My eyes were literally transfixed at the juxtaposition of the snags on the ground that once stood tall against the snow-clad pines towering over me like giants. And at one point they endured the bitter climate together in this harsh-at-times subalpine mountainside.
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