The golden trees of fall

I couldn’t let autumn slip by without talking about trees, especially beautiful fall trees such as the aspens.

I didn’t grow up in the land of aspens, and so they’re not part of my mental image of fall. They are spectacular, though, and it’s hard to pass by them in the fall without pausing to admire them and listen to their leaves “quaking.”

Aspens in Nevada

While driving from the start to the finish of one of my husband’s recent races near Tahoe, I couldn’t resist a quick stop along this roadside. I lost more than an hour because of the stop (thanks, Nevada DOT, for mismanaging your construction zones so entirely that day, and by thanks, I mean the exact opposite of thanks). But as I look back at these pictures and remember the beauty of that morning, it’s hard for me to say I wouldn’t have stopped if I’d known the trouble that waited ahead in the construction zone. At least for all the aggravation, I had these moments of sheer beauty.

A showy autumn display

Other days brought an escape from the car, along with opportunities to see these beautiful trees up close.

The bark offers a spell-binding play of dark and light.

Leaves of gold

I’ve been reading about the growth patterns and habits of quaking aspens. They grow in groups called clones, where each “tree” isn’t so much an individual as it is part of an outgrowth of a single living root system.

They continue to grow through winter, too, an unusual characteristic for deciduous trees. You can read more about the layer right under their bark that allows this to happen.

Aspens even have the power to turn the water into gold. Well, not really. But the combination of aspens and sunlight adds an air of magic to whatever water happens to be nearby.

A heron wades among the golden reflection. (I’m not sure all of the gold reflection is from aspens.)

A blaze of aspen gold washes over salmon in Taylor Creek.

I hope these last two photos whet your appetite for what’s coming next week. The salmon are running, and we got to see a different sort of salmon spawning in Taylor Creek near Lake Tahoe. Next week, I’ll share some favorite shots of the salmon and the birds that hang out with them (sometimes to the detriment of the fish).

How is autumn shaping up where you live? We’re raking lots of leaves and enjoying at least a little fall color.

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