- May actually live on IR
- Posts: 312
- Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm
- Isle Royale Visits: 4
- Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Due to a profound oddity in our terms of employment, Mr t and I are allowed to do our jobs remotely this year. We are set up in a cabin in a redwood grove in a community called "Skylonda," which (as its name suggests) may or may not be fictional. It is definitely south of San Francisco, on the crest of the mountains running down the spine of the peninsula separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
A consequence is that it's way easier to get to places like Yosemite National Park and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest than it is from Ann Arbor. (Even from Ann Arbor, and this strikes me as extremely weird, these places are easier to reach than IR.) So, more alert than the lifelong residents to the fact of seasonal change, we made a quick raid on the Eastern Sierra to witness the aspen trees going berserk.
In places like the Great Lakes, that know from fall foliage, the aspens would be pathetic also-rans, weak cousins of the birch, whose chromatic limit was an (OK--bright) yellow while the maples were taking up way past searing red. In the Sierra, with deep green conifers and towering cliffs of gleaming granite to offset them as they pour down slopes like molten gold, they're stars.
If you get tired of aspens, you can forswear the Sierra and drive up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Bristlecone Pines are trees that grow in the White Mountains, the range straddling the CA-NV border, across Owens Valley from the Sierra. They're supposedly the oldest living organisms on earth. There's a whole grove of them over 4000 years old, where the age estimate comes honestly: some dedicated nerds counted tree rings. Their survival strategy is not to crush the competition. It's to be so tough that they can live places --- alkaline deserts at high altitudes--- the competition can't manage. At 10,000+ feet, the conditions are so harsh that even the 4000 year old trees are only about 12 feet tall---nature's bonzais. The best thing of all is that, even though they compose an Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, they're still a National Forest. So dogs are allowed, and sweater-wearing Yorkshire terriers prance around, pissing on the bristlecones.
Crowds, and complications from snowpack, raging rivers, and pesky bugs are extremely suppressed during Aspen extravagance season. You can fly to Reno, rent a car, book an AirBnB in Mammoth, and go hogwild. Mr t is inclined to make this a fall break fixture.
I never get tired of aspens. Having lived in Colorado, I really miss the gold of the aspens and the blue skies of Colorado. Fall is the best time in the Rockies.If you get tired of aspens, you can forswear the Sierra and drive up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.