Aspens & Arborglyphs

My all-time favorite arborglyph in a grove near Cedar Breaks, Utah

My all-time favorite arborglyph in a grove near Cedar Breaks, Utah

A few weeks ago a friend took me to his secret aspen grove in the mountains above Santa Fe, New Mexico. This grove is an ideal place to practice the art of aspen balancing: walking through the forest along the trunks of downed aspen trees. We spent all day traversing the grove, balancing on trees scattered like pick-up-sticks and the next morning, my abdominal muscles were sore from the effort. Balance requires core strength, in more ways than one.

Rod's Aspen Paradise

Rod’s Aspen Eden

I’ve always loved aspen trees, in part because their white trunks remind me of my favorite childhood trees: the huge sycamores growing between farm fields where I grew up in Amish Country, Pennsylvania.

I spent all last week camped in Gunnison National Forest, near Kebler Pass, above Crested Butte, Colorado. This area is home to one of the largest aspen groves in North America. Aspen groves share a communal root system and in some ways, entire groves can be thought of as one colossal organism. So I spent the week hiking in the midst of one of the largest living organisms on Earth. I wasn’t the first to spend time there: I found plenty of arborglyphs. No, I didn’t add my own carving. I like to think I’m making my mark on this world in other ways… 😉

I Love You Colorado, Edson Thank you

I Love You Colorado, Edson Thank you

Aspen Heart

Aspen Heart

Another kind of love

Who Is God?

Aspen Girl

Aspen Girl

Aspen Yogi

Aspen Yogi

Get Nude, Be Seen

Get Nude, Be Seen

Aspen Ode to Weed

Aspen Ode to Weed

Aspen Star

Aspen Star, Lens Flare

Ode to Hound Dog

Ode to Hound Dog

Peruvian Graffiti

Peruvian Graffiti

More Peruvian Graffiti. This guy left his mark EVERYWHERE

More Peruvian Graffiti. This guy left his mark EVERYWHERE

Mexico & Salvatore

Mexico & Salvatore

Aspen Llamas

Aspen Llamas

Aspen Horses

Aspen Horses

Aspen Bear

Aspen Bear

There is nothing so empty and vacant as loneliness.

There is nothing so empty and vacant as loneliness.

Check out my other recently updated collection: Bare Bones, Skulls & Skeletons.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in Big Sky, Montana. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
This entry was posted in Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Aspens & Arborglyphs

  1. chris339 says:

    Great carvings. The old Basque shepherds, who ran sheep in the western mountains left plenty of carvings, many borderline obscene or at least provocative. I guess it gets quite lonely as a shepherd…

  2. quietwalkblog says:

    Hi Mary…… We went backpacking up the Borrego Trail this past weekend. I, also, love the aspens and sycamores (on the rare occasions when I have been in their vicinity), and am happy to say that we did not see many carved on trees. I guess it’s natural for most people to leave their mark wherever they go, but I prefer the unblemished look. Sounds like you have been enjoying your Colorado stay. Best to you, Carol

  3. acuriousgal says:

    Wonderful carvings!

  4. Perhaps they should spend more time hiking and appreciating the natural beauty of trees and wildlife, instead of defacing trees and ruining the wilderness experience for everyone that follows behind them.

  5. Andy says:

    This further on from ice-age cave art, and we still have the same impulses to create the images and leave our mark.

  6. Gunta says:

    Leaving one’s mark does rather remind me of dog lifting its leg… 😉

  7. Patrick D says:

    Interesting and there’s alot!

  8. beeseeker says:

    Breath-taking photos; I now have the concept of aspen balancing fixed in my brain (for which, thanks – I think) and we often say something like
    “If trees could talk”
    These aspens are having a damned good try eh?
    Remember being in the States and learning for the first time that aspen forests forma single community, helping each other in various ways
    The second largest single organism on earth, we were told was an aspen “grove”.
    Largest is the Great Barrier Reef.
    As always- you have the perfect pitch, split between all aspects of writing, the graphic, the personal, the scientific and the appealing – that makes your blog a delightful place to visit.

  9. Pit says:

    Do we humans really have to deface even those beautiful trees with our scribblings? I think it only shows a thoughtless attitude and utter disrespect for nature.
    Best regards from southern Texas,
    Pit

  10. Pingback: Scenic Summer Highlight: Scarp Ridge & Oh-Be-Joyful! | Travels with the Blonde Coyote

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