Cache La Poudre, Virginia Dale, Tie Siding, Laramie, Happy Jack. These names evoke sweet childhood memories of car trips in the West. We had lived in Laramie while my father worked on his doctorate and after moving to the Midwest, spent each August traveling back to our beloved mountains.
Recently, Zoë had scoped out a hike at Vedauwoo, a National Forest site between Cheyenne and Laramie that is one of those remembered names. We set out on a Sunday morning to explore. Huge tawny stones rise from the high prairie in a formation called Turtle Rock. More like Rocks as the granite outcrop is made up of many squarish, round-edged stones. Set between the crystalline blue sky and the golden aspen woods, our view of the rocks changed with every turn of the trail.
Three miles later we were ready for lunch. I had packed sandwiches and salads in metal tiffin boxes, perfect for transporting our meal.
These are a new sandwich favorite. Goat cheese on crusty bread topped with slices of summer tomatoes and strips of roasted green chilé.
We sat at a picnic table at the trail head among scattered boulders, content with the exercise, the food, the company, and the glorious day.
This week, Bud and I needed another dose of that deep yellow aspen color and made a trip to Caribou Ranch Open Space above Boulder. The drive along the Peak to Peak Highway was one stunning view of hillsides and roadside aglow with aspen light after another.
We were lucky to find a parking spot in the often full lot at the trailhead. The four mile hike begins on an upward path over a ridge through pine forest then drops to follow the edge of a large meadow. Patches of that amazing gold studded the mountainsides surrounding us. Some aspen had taken on a reddish-pink color. What causes that? Moisture? Temperature? Location? Probably all of those. There’s so much I don’t know. And what is it about that deep aspen yellow that resounds in my heart?