September 21, 2014

Wasatch Plateau Aspen Color Tour

If wonderful-ness were a tree.... could be a Bristlecone Pine having hung onto a slab of granite at 13,000 feet for 2,500 winters. Or, it could be a Fremont Cottonwood along the river that watched John Wesley Powell float by in his rickety boats. It could be a stately old Ponderosa Pine growing tall and proud having avoided the axe of a settler looking for lumber. Just as likely, pure wonderfulness would live in a grove of Aspen trees, who prepared all year, for the annual splendor of the fall color.

This past weekend Lisa and I took a trip to see some Aspens in fall color. Just as importantly to camp under them where we could smell the loveliness of the fallen leaves, and awake to the unique singing of the tree canopy stirred by the midnight breeze. If Utah had anything close to the Great Smoky Mountain Parkway it'd be a place called the Skyline Road. Skyline road is a rough dirt road that traverses a wonderful plateau region called the Wasatch Plateau. The plateau forms part of the eastern boundary of The Great Basin and lies at about 10,000'. It is sparsely covered by Aspen trees with an unobstructed view in almost every direction for miles and miles. Our original intent was to make it far enough south to camp under the cover of the Pondo tree; the worlds largest living organism. As it turned out I was sick with a cold and it seemed Lisa was getting it too so after the second night out we headed for home. We didn't make it to Pando, but we did get to a wonderful place called The Grove of Aspen Giants. Thankfully, at some point in time there was a romanticist working for the forest service who was unabashed about naming this grove a name that it deserved. Truly huge Aspens! I thought we saw big Aspens a couple years ago on Table Mountain in Nevada, but these were much bigger.
Despite 100 miles of dirt road I was glad that the old '77 ran like a faithful steed yet again, carrying us to the hinterlands of Utah for a dose of fall color tailgate camping.

dinner ala tailgate

the Skyline Drive

big tree...little hugger

official tailgate camping

little friends

the faithful steed waits

biggest aspen I've ever seen

Grove of Aspen Giants
graffiti turned hieroglyph

1 comment:

  1. This spring Mary, the dogs, and I camped for several nights off the Skyline Drive but further north than your trip. Sounds like we need to continue our journey further south before winter arrives.