Today I just felt like escaping my deadlines and so together with a friend, headed up to the Sierra de las Nieves to check out the 'natural monument' there – the rare pinsapos trees. Nothing like a bit of tree hugging to chill me out! I've mentioned these trees before, but never made it to the location of the oldest living tree in the sierra – so today was a pleasure.
But we were so busy fooling around taking pictures of ourselves that I actually forgot to photograph the tree! So you I found a picture on the internet and you can see a bit of the enormous natural structure behind me in the picture above.
The main trunk is more like an ancient oak tree, huge (said to be five metres in diametre); and then that splits into four large upward branches or trunks, each big enough in themselves to be a tree (the tree is over 26 metres high), and then a vast array of branches covered in fine, tiny pine needles. The tree is topped by a crown of upward facing cones (some 200 square metres) - extraordinary sight!
It is thought to be between 350 and 500 years old! The trees are in crisis and seem to be ill, which is so sad – environmental and climate changes are taking their toll across the planet; I guess we are the last generation to see the world with so many species alive – a sobering thought.
To get there, take the same route as to get to La Torrecilla. Take the Ronda road from the coast up to the turning on the right, signposted 'Conejeras' and 'Los Quejigales' (about 15 mins south of Ronda) and then follow the signs, and you see the markers for 'monumento natural – pinsapo'.
Off season like now when the fire hazard is low you can access the park by car and walk the last few kilometres. High season the area is closed to visitors to minimise loss due to fire.
This time of year the place is full of ferns, fungus, lichen and toadstools – making summer seem a distant memory.