The Pull of Aspen Trees


Let yourself be silently drawn

by the strange pull

of what you really love.

It will not lead you astray.


You wouldn’t have to travel far to see the kind of place that makes
people want to be from here.  Just across the fence is a path that is cut from water that comes off a mountain lake up a couple thousand feet in elevation.  Water falls through sage, oak brush, pines, and aspen until it reaches the calm of the lakefront.  At top, there are wildflowers in summer and in fall, gold on some of the tallest aspens you can find anywhere. 

I have brought many visitors to this place.  Most have traveled far to come visit and are struck at first by how far up the gravel road it is and how long the quiet echoes.    Just beyond the line of property is national forest, which touches BLM wilderness.  If you follow the path that is traveled by cattle and the occasional ATV, you’ll reach yet another mountain stream that runs full and robust in spring and a little less vigorously in fall.  

Occasionally, elk follow the stream and come to the edge of the pond
to drink.  They pass through to higher country as the snow melts in May and come again near Thanksgiving on their way back to lower and warmer country where they winter.    They are in smaller herds than in years past.  Occasionally, I have spied one traveling solo.  One winter I looked out the window during a heavy snowstorm and could see a bull elk, six points, pushing through shoulder-high drifts.  It was a stunning sight.

There is peace in this place, one that reaches softly to touch even the most hardened and jaded of those who visit.  It is easy to forget about the morning paper that is not delivered, the television that is not present, the convenience of trash pickup that is unavailable.  Easy to accept the occasional cow who finds his way through the barbed wire, the nasty bat that finds its way into the
bedroom, and the 350 inches of snow that one finds to plow from the driveway in winter.

Perhaps the best time of year to experience it is in autumn, as the
warm days of summer begin a gradual conversion to the cold nights of
winter.  The sky is bluest, the air is snappy, the aspen are splendid and sunlight has a remarkable glow in the morning and evening hours.  Canadian geese congregate at Spence Lake and do a fly by at dawn and at dusk.  Wild turkeys parade past the propane tank and the oak brush looks its finest.   

This time that I favor will not last long.  Truly without pause, the days will shorten and the sun will move till it goes down between the mountains seen from the far side of the driveway and not the mountains that are due west.  And winter will come.  

But before it does, there is time to drink red wine outdoors by a fire that burns fallen aspen, time to take a few more walks in the woods and time to take a few more photographs of this place that I love. 

40 thoughts on “The Pull of Aspen Trees

  1. Your pictures and notes are beautiful! Another good place to do elk watching is American Basin near Lake City.
    Is that Lizard Lake in the first picture? Lizard Lake is a few miles east of Marble Colorado.and on the road to Crystal Mill.

      • One of these days I encourage you to take a ride over to Marble Colorado and book a tour with Crystal River Jeep Tours (ask for Smitty) that will take you into the back country to the ghost town of Crystal Colorado. One of the better photo ops is the old mill that is still there but another road in that area that will take you up to the top of Sheep Mountain where you can stand on the edge of a precipice and look across the Crystal River Valley, many thousands of feet below, towards Scholfied Pass and Crested Butte. However those roads are rough and not for the faint of heart but the views are worthy of your camera.

        Bob Cloud

  2. It is wonderful when the aspens change color. I don’t think ours are going to be too spectacular this year – they have been hit pretty hard by Eriophyes mites, and not enough rain at the right time. The leaves are turning brown instead of the usual golds and yellows. But I’m sure something else will surprise us with good fall colors!

  3. Your photos are awesome. I have so longed to visit your beautiful state. We had a trip planned this month…Amtrak cancelled our trip trip through the Rockies. Maybe another time, but thanks for the beauty of the Aspen.

  4. the pic of not just the trees pulled me, the one with the bright blue sky and clouds…wow…I could lay in a hammock all day….looking, dreaming, like a little kid….. thanks amazing girl for giving us a glimpse…


  5. Beautiful. Don’t you feel sorry for people that never get to experience the fall splendor of the Rocky Mountains? I absolutely love the picture of the path paved with golden leaves. I have a very similar picture that I took outside of Santa Fe thirty-some years ago.

  6. Love, love, love your pictures today – a breathtaking reminder of the splendor. I was in Colorado last September, but was there just a tinch too early for this much color. Now I want to go back.

  7. Your love for where you are is so simply and beautifully woven through the text. I was mermerized by the guided tour through the aspen forest, enhanced by stunning images. Autumn comes early where you live, and I was deeply drawn into the “feel” of the change in seasons. Trembling aspen is the most widespread and abundant deciduous tree species in BC but in higher elevations. Soon I’ll be feeling that seasonal change on the island. I love witnessing the glory as the maples change color to gold and red, in contrast to the surrounding green/blue wet coastal fir and cedar forest.

    You are the strange autumn rose
    that led the winter wind in by withering. – Rumi

  8. Reading this post and viewing your photos just relaxed me so much! I took a deep breath and let it out. Close my eyes after reading it. You made me feel like I was right there too. You put me in the mood for fall. So beautifully written. Thank you!

  9. Beautiful pictures with words and camera. You are such a lucky girl to have had your Lucky Dog, and to still be able to visit the scene without enduring it. (I think I said what I mean 🙂

  10. Though having traveled this area many times, you have managed to make me long for a return trip. It never, ever, disappoints. You are blessed to be in such an inspiring part of the world, but I suspect it is not by accident.

    And speaking of never disappointing, another beautiful post in both photo and narrative.

  11. The first time I saw changing trees, in the fall, was on a trip to Washington DC about 6 years ago. I was so intrigued by the red, yellow & orange leaves that I had only heard about or seen in photos. The beauty you portray in your photos reminds me of that. Living in Las Vegas, we don’t get to see this type of beauty unless we travel. Thanks for the journey. Love this post. 🙂

    • I do live in a beautiful place Elena and have to say I love it. You have a knack for finding beauty in everyday things, as I see in your lovely photos. Thanks for stopping in again–have missed you!

  12. What a lovely post. It makes me miss my Durango home and driving to see the beauty of the Aspens. Although I am thrilled to be experiencing a New England fall again. Thank you for your comment on my post and welcome to my blog. I am looking forward to reading more of yours.

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