Afternoon Hike on Right Fork Bunker Creek Trail and Some Leaf Peeping
We decided to do the Right Fork Bunker Creek Trail because we were in the market for a shortish afternoon hike and some leaf peeping along the way: the trailhead is above 10,400 feet and at that elevation yellow aspen leaves would be almost a given. On the drive up FR 048 through the meadows and forests of Sidney Valley the aspens were mostly already at their peak, and the trail itself was no different. It is interesting to me how clonal aspen colonies (which are all derived from the same root system) turn at different times and have tendencies such as retaining their yellow leaf color or turning right to orange or red, but it was still amazing to see aspens with green leaves at 10,000 feet while other colonies were blazing orange at 8,000 feet. Anyway, the trail descended through fir and aspen, most of which were a bright yellow. For whatever reason, this drainage contained relatively few spruce and so was not affected by the bark beetle epidemic; the results were that our hike was almost entirely shaded and that potential views down the valley were obstructed by trees. It was a pleasant, cool walk and something to keep in mind for a late summer day when the sun is strong.
After the hike we drove back down Sidney Valley one of my favorite sections of forest near Mammoth Creek. The aspens here are frequently a vivid orange and some of my favorites: