That Golden Glow

Hello All, I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted. My computer was broken for 3 months – yeah, 3 months – but the required part finally arrived and it seems like most of my data made it through so I’m going to try and get back into it before I end up a full year behind on my posts. And to all my blogger friends, I hope to get back to commenting on and liking your posts again soon since for the life of me I cannot figure out why my phone won’t let me stay signed in to my WordPress account (even through the app!). So anyways, back to Fall 2020!

Aspen hunting with Abby is one of my absolutely favorite things to do, combining the excitement of discovery in cross country hiking with the sensory overload of basking beneath the lit leaves. So once the aspen leaves began yellowing in earnest Abbs and I take every available opportunity to enjoy the glow. This year was a bit different since Abbs didn’t want to cover as much distance in a day but we still managed 5-8 miles on each excursion, punctuated with frequent breaks as I stood around admiring the aspen — and of course photographing them. There was also at least one unapproved break per hike as Abby disappeared to devour elk carcass. She really upped her game on the dead elk this year but thankfully for all her consumption and 36 hours of subsequent sickness she managed to keep the remnants out of my backseat on our drives home. Thus, it was an overall wonderful aspen season, and Abbs and I thoroughly enjoyed traversing meadows, scrambling up hillsides, and cutting across old fire roads in search of the golden leaves. It was truly quality time.

Aspen are remarkable species. With an average lifespan that does not extend much longer a hundred years, these trees rocket up to the sky within their first few decades, punching through canopies of conifer when necessary, branching out quickly in their need to photosynthesize and support their rapid growth. Most trees are clones – duplicates sprouted from a common root system – though stands can have more than one clone within them. Because this type of shared root system continues to grow beyond the life of any one tree, some clones are identical to trees grown thousands of years ago. This phenomenon also means that different stands have distinctive physical characteristics such as size, branching pattern, and timing of color change. And what I discovered in our aspen hunts this fall were that we have some very tall aspen in some places, ones that rival some of the monster aspen we had in our national forest in Utah. It was definitely a great year for discovery.