Ruminations From the Western Slope

Ruminations From the Western Slope
Colorado River near Moab, Utah

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Aspens and Anniversaries

Nineteen years ago today a wild mountain lion ran across the road in front of me as I drove into the mountains near Mineral, California. At the time, I considered it a good omen as I was in the process of getting my eight year old daughter Alison so that she could be with me on my wedding day. Ali lived with her mom near the town of Portola, high up the Feather River country. The drive from Redding took three hours and took me near the slopes of Lassen Peak, around the shore of Lake Almanor, and along the banks of Indian Creek. I’d gotten a crack-o-dawn start so that we could have plenty of time to make ready for the ceremony.

That afternoon Amy and I got married under the trees in Viola, a tiny community in the foothills of the Cascades. We were surrounded by friends and family and good feelings. And the day after the nuptials were completed, we flew down to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a two-week honeymoon through the Four Corners area. That mountain lion sighting was a harbinger of a sublime experience that has lasted nearly twenty years.

So today the two of us drove into the mountains once again but this time it was in Colorado instead of California. We decided to catch the fall color on Grand Mesa, only about an hour’s drive from Grand Junction. We left the interstate at Plateau Creek and slowly wound along its rugged banks which are currently decked out in yellow rabbitbrush and late summer grasses. We encountered the first aspens just beyond the town of Mesa near the Powderhorn ski area.

Farther up the road at Old Powderhorn the color was even better. And eventually we spent a good chunk of time wandering amid white bark and golden shadows, photographing the autumn splendor. It was a warm and quiet affirmation of a marriage well spent, of two-week fall vacations through the canyon country, and of other autumn days spent admiring the intermountain West. We have aged, certainly, but those things we love about this land and each other have not.

Late September was a great time to get married and a great time to have an anniversary.....when the western mountains are full of sunshine and color, in a final burst of arboreal glory before the chilly days of winter set in.

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