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Big Bear’s Champion Lodgepole Pine

In the Holcomb Valley north of Big Bear Lake lie remnants of gold-mining history. Bellevill cabin is a reminder of the settlement that sprang up in the mid-1800s after the discovery of gold nearby. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)
Hangman’s Tree stands near a meadow north of Big Bear Lake. The years following the 1860 discovery of gold were rough in this part of the San Bernardino Mountains. Hangman’s Tree was part of that violent era. Several men were hanged from its limbs, which are said to have been chopped off as each hanged man was cut down. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)
Hangman’s Tree is among sites along Gold Fever Trail near Big Bear Lake. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)
The rough road to the Champion Lodgepole Pine trail head, south of Big Bear Lake, is bordered by tall trees and boulders. Shadow and light gave one boulder along the route a human aspect. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)
The lodgepole pine has a ghostly appearance even in the full light of day. It reaches about 110 feet into the air and, near the ground, is nearly 20 feet in circumference. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)