I was raised hiking the western mountains of Arizona, California and New Mexico and there, I fell in love with the Quaking Aspen. I have vivid memories of emerging from dense dark woods into sun-lit meadows ringed with the brilliant greens of aspen leaves whispering with their quaking leaves waving, twirling, dancing in the breeze. Then, when autumn comes, one only has to look up at the mountains to enjoy the golden slopes of aspen shimmering in the sun. It is breathtaking.
After college graduation, work took me to the east coast but I never lost my love for these magnificent trees, so when I vacationed to Northern Arizona, I made a special trip up to the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff to pay them a visit.
The road up to the trail head got rougher and narrower as we drove up the mountain until it became a "Jeep road", much more appropriate for my father's Land Rover than our Honda Civic. With a cliff up on one side and steep precipice down on the other, we finally reached our destination.
The aspens were numerous and beautiful, despite the darkening sky and rumbling thunder. Suddenly, another hiker appeared ahead, rushing toward us at a great pace. "Turn around now", he said, continuing with, "I hike this trail regularly and with the storm that's coming, the road will get washed completely out and you will be stranded here". So ended our Aspen hike much sooner than we had hoped, but we did get to see them!
"Aspen Trail", Original 24" x 16" oil on canvas