Elbert Creek, CO (27) Bob Leverett
June 29, 2009


Today Monica and I headed up the Elbert Creek drainage in the Hermosa Cliff region of the La Platas. Naturally, I was in search of big trees. More specifically, I wanted to measure aspens. The area is awash in that species. The trailhead begins at 8,800 feet above sea level. We climbed to around 9,700 before turning back. It was enough for Monica and after what I put myself through yesterday, I was happy to turn around.

While I didn't break any regional or species height or girth records today, I did break a personal species height record. I hit 100 feet on a quaking aspen. That is a first. Quaking aspens in the East are wimpy, but in the San Juans, they can be rather impressive. Before today, I think about 85 feet is my personal best in the East. However, the stand I surveyed today has many aspens in the 80 to 90-foot range. In general aspens in the stand run from 65 to 85 feet, but a few surpass 90, and at least 2 reach 100. 
        Altogether, my tree catch for the day is as follows. Heights and girths, of course, are in feet

Species          Height     Girth  

Aspen              91.0          4.5 
Aspen              93.0          5.7
Aspen              96.0          5.3
Aspen            100.0          6.1
Aspen            100.5           ?
Englemann   106.0          8.8
Englemann   118.0          7.2
Englemann   122.0          7.4
Englemann   124.0          8.2

I took plenty of images, but after my last burst of images in the Falls Creek email, I'll hold this batch to 3.  The images are as follows:

1. View from Elbert Creek drainage looking southeast toward Haviland Lake.

2. For me, this is a priceless image. The great peaks from left to right are Pigeon (13,972), Turret (13,835), and the massive peak to the right is elusive to photograph from a road, mighty Mt. Eolus (14,083). 

3. This too is a priceless image - Monica and quaking aspens. Monica was in bird heaven today. Eventually, she'll put together an email on her bird observations. For now, she's still making observations.


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Thanks, much. The attachment that I feel for this great country inspires me to do my very best. 

I am attaching another image of the aspens in the Elbert Creek drainage. Monica is putting on her knee braces as the trail steepens. The aspens are very pretty and provide a striking contrast to the dark foliage of the conifers. In the lower part of the drainage, narrow leaf cottonwoods are prevalent. I measured one to 96 feet yesterday. I doubt that I'll break 100 feet on the species. I don't see them in that height class in any place we've visited thus far.


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