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
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
1. View from Elbert Creek drainage looking southeast toward
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
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
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