Finding the Maples

It appears that I spoke too soon about my computer being fixed: it’s been barely limping along as I’ve been trying to get this post written and uploaded over the past few weeks. On the bright side almost all my data was recovered and my backups are intact so it’ll just be a delay before I can try to start catching up again on the blog. Also in the plus category is that I’m nearly 12 months behind so these foliage posts from Fall of 2020 seem more appropriate.

Last Autumn was the first time we were living full-time in the Sacramento Mountains and while I already knew of many places where I find aspen from my weekend excursions during my time working in the desert, I was surprised by the number of places I also found maples! As a former east coaster I had grown up with multi-colored fall foliage but had actually forgotten how much I enjoyed the deep reds – and other rainbow hues – of the maple leaves. Once I found maples in the canyons, Abbs and I made a point to visit them frequently in between our aspen hunts.

While there are clusters of these Bigtooth Maples in multiple drainages below the high peaks, one canyon in particular happened to be particularly dense in reds, oranges, peaches, and yellows. Since this trail also happened to be about a 4 mile route it became one of our go-tos for shorter morning hikes. In addition to the colorful maples, this trail also boasts soaring Douglas Firs, stately ponderosas, and a whole lot of interesting smells – at least according to Abbs. It’s obvious from the amount of scat on the trails that its also a popular trek for elk, bear, and coyote, and Abbs warned me of nearby bear more than once during our visits. It’s a truly lovely hike, one that she and I enjoyed dozens on times over the past year.