Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rocky Mountain High

Sorry if you're looking for
John Denver or Mary Jane.

Tenmile Range from Boreas Pass Road

I'm talking about the incredible
Rocky Mountain high you get
walking among Colorado's glorious aspen
when the days shorten and cool
and the nights lengthen and chill.

 Aspen Trees Overlooking Goose Pasture Tarn
Just South of Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Yesterday Terry and I hiked along
Boreas Pass Road near Breckenridge.
The aspen leaves are peaking,
and they are glorious.

Aspen Stems and Leaves
Boreas Pass Road,

This year there are a lot of aspen
sporting rich orange and red leaves
among the more typical yellow.

This may be a genetic trait,
caused by the orange and red aspens
having two anthocyanin pigments
that the yellow aspen do not.

The Ever-Patient Terry
Boreas Pass Road 

Aspen Leaves
Boreas Pass Road,

Bald Mountain
(13,684 feet/4171meters)
with Boreas Pass Road 
above the aspen in the lower right 
From New England Drive, Breckenridge 

Boreas Pass Road

Aspen, Boreas Pass Road

Terry Along Boreas Pass Road

Overlooking Goose Pasture Tarn
Boreas Pass Road

Colorado Gold

Boreas Pass Road

Boreas Pass Road

Boreas Pass Road

All of my life I have struggled with acrophobia
or fear of heights.
I have come so far over the years,
but yesterday I had a full-on attack.

In a fit of enthusiasm,
I started down a gravelly slope 
along a dead tree 
trying to shoot
the color beckoning on an adjacent slope.

All of a sudden the drop-offs registered,
and I thought I would shoot down the gravel
like a skier on a jump.

I sank to the ground,
braced my foot against a knob on the left side of the trunk,
and plunged into complete irrational and dizzy panic.

A guide friend told me long ago,
that when you sit on your butt,
it's all over ~ you've got to stay on your feet.

I was shaking so badly,
I thought I would dislodge the trunk.

Tree Trunk Pointing Steeply Downhill
Boreas Pass Road

The E-P answered my panicked pleas 
and calmly reached for me.

At one point I was lying on my belly
and clinging to the roots.
I wouldn't let go of those big fat roots for anything.

Finally, I went for it,
pulling myself and squirming above 
the dead roots of the tree,
as Terry dragged me to my feet and safety.

Yours Truly
Covered with Dirt from the Belly Squirm

Damn I was pissed!
Haven't licked acrophobia yet!

Poor E-P.
He knows another rock, ledge, or tree is waiting somewhere,
just for special me to have an irrational panic attack on.
And he knows I'll go for it.
It's one of the many reasons, I call him the E-P.


Not So Much

Traffic snarls clogged the Boreas Pass Road repeatedly
as other enjoyed the leaves on their wheels,
not their bellies.

Looking Through Aspen
Above Goose Pasture Tarn

We couldn't believe it!
John Denver's Rocky Mountain High
came on the radio when Terry started the car for home.

Okay, I guess you get John Denver after all!

You Tube ~ Masassa2009


  1. Sure looks like such an awesome spot indeed, but you may have just disappointed all the pot heads nearby you lmao I guess some things are just meant to be as the tune came on

    1. Hi, Pat! It's funny how the universe works sometimes. I hadn't heard RMH on the radio in a long time; and suddenly, there it was! I used to listen to it the summer I worked in the Rawdin Hills, NS. It was on the hit parade then. Never knew I'd land in Colorado. Have a good one!

  2. such a beautiful group of trees

  3. I can see autumn in the leaves of the trees. Beautiful pictures. thanks.

    1. Thanks, Sangay! Autumn is a special time of year for me. I love the colorful leaves and the crisp clear air. Have a great week!

  4. Your aspen pictures are breathtaking. Those gorgeous yellows. I'm glad you had Terry along to rescue you from your attack. And to enjoy that lovely fall walk with you. Thanks for sharing. What a lovely scene to see this morning. I almost feel like I am there with you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Peggy! I'm glad that you enjoyed my pictures! I had so much fun taking them. I never got a good shot of that beckoning slope, though. Rats! Terry always has my back, and he's very calm when I get myself into trouble. Have a happy week, Peggy!

  5. Thanks for the shots from home! I love seeing the aspens… and I don't like that everyone else wants to come up and see them, too! Ah, but I guess we have to share our Colorado Gold!
    Oh, my… that tree going down hill was scary. I don't blame you. But, I will say, the picture of you taken after your time of groveling on the ground was darn cute!

    1. Thanks, Dreaming! I hate sharing too, but what are you going to do in such a beautiful place? I'm glad that we got out Saturday because the weather has been cloudy and rainy since ~ brief periods of sunshine. Fortunately I love the mountains in all their moods! Have a good one!

  6. Hi Fundy,

    It's Barb :) I know what it is like to be in E-P's shoes - lol. I am always amazed at your determination not to let your fears cage you - hugs, I am proud of you Barb
    PS: The Aspens are beautiful but nothing compares the Maple Trees in the fall - I am off to Ottawa to admire them in a couple of weeks - Canadian Thanks Giving - you should grace us with your presence one of these years - poke, poke.

    1. Hey Barb! Yup ~ You've rescued me a few times! It's such a mental thing. I can be doing fine, and then Bam! Panic can completely take over. But slowly but surely I'm getting there. It's pretty in Breck right now, clouds and peeks of sunshine. The E-P is napping, but I'm going to wake him up soon, because I want to play Lord of the Rings pinball in town ~ and go to a craft brewery. Not! But I will because Terry really wants to check a new one out. I've come to love our Colorado gold as much as any other leaf display. I hope that Millie is doing okay, and since you're going to Ottawa for Canadian Thanksgiving, I'm taking that as a good sign! Hugs right back to you!

  7. The colors haven't changed here yet...still mostly green...but I'm seeing hints of fall. I LOVE this time of the year and your pictures sum up exactly why!

    1. Thank you, Stephanie! Sorry about my late reply, I was traveling. Have a great weekend!

  8. Hi - visiting from Pat's blog. Your beautiful aspens remind me a bit of our Canadian birch trees. So beautiful. RMH holds special significance to me too as we sang/played it non-stop on choir trips down to the States when I was a teen. The poor bus driver!

    1. Thank you for visiting, Suza. I have so much respect for school bus drivers! They do an excellent job under stressful conditions. I've been traveling and unable to answer until now, but I enjoyed your comment. Have a great weekend!

  9. Colorado is beautiful!
    So sorry about your attack. That must have been very frightening.

    1. Hi Terry! We're so lucky to live where we do. And yes, those attacks are frightening, but they don't happen every time, so I go for it! Happy weekend to you!

  10. Firstly Louise, these photos are YOUR BEST EVER! They are purely incredible and you nailed the essence of these trees so well. Really wonderful 'work' you did. Thanks.
    Acrophobia sounds terrifying. I am sorry you had to experience it and am happy that Terry was there for you. So I am correct to understand that standing is the best posture for anyone having this type of attack? Interesting.
    We have "quaking Aspen' here....the poor cousins of these beautiful Aspen in Colorado.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Jim! I read it on the 22nd, but I haven't been able to answer until now. It made me so happy! Bill, my guide friend, said that once you sit on the ground you are paralyzed with fear. It just gets worse. If you stand on your feet, you can move, and then extract yourself from the situation. Easy to say, but hard to do when you are in a full-on attack. It's mental more than physical, and when your mind loses its grip, it's really hard to get it back. Bill has helped me out of some very bad spots and has repeated demonstrated to me how to move on your feet in slick rock country. He was also the guide who took me through my first and only rappel, when I flipped upside down and smacked into a cliff some 200 feet off the ground. He fixed my gear and sent me right back over the lip of the cliff to rappel down. And I went, because there was no way I was climbing down what we had climbed up to get to the rappelling site. LOL! Notice I didn't say "first and last time." I'm working in the gym right now to build up my upper body strength, so I can wall climb. I want to get past "quaking Louise!" Have a great weekend, my friend! Oh yeah, rappelling down that cliff gave me one of the highest highs in my life ~ once my feet touched the ground!

  11. Those aspens' colours are so uplifting. I saw them on a TV show once and said "I so wish I could go there and experience that!" Well, you have helped a lot. Many thanks at the expense of a dirty belly. That tree root was beautiful, love dead trees!

    Thanks again for sharing this special part of Colorado, Louise!

    Ron here!

    1. Hi, Ron, and thanks!! Barb keeps saying that golden aspen trees are beautiful, but not as gorgeous as the turning deciduous trees in the east. I used to feel that way, but the burnished golden leaves have so grown on me. I have always loved Tolkien's Lothlórien, the most beautiful forest of the Elves in Middle Earth. The golden mallorn trees with their silver trunks fill my imagination. The autumn aspen always make me think of the mallorn trees because of their golden leaves and silver trunks. Of course, an aspen would be a midget beside a mallorn. Have a happy weekend, Ron ~ hopefully filled with energy!

  12. Wow, amazing place! And your photos are spectacular. There is so much autumn colour already. I'm still have troubling believing that summer is really over!

    I'm sorry you had to experience acrophobia. It sounds very stressful. And I had no idea that you should remain standing. I don't have acrophobia, but I do have moments when I'm so intimidated by a high place that I feel the urge to sink to the ground and sit on my butt. I'll have to remember what you wrote and stay on my feet!

    1. Hi Martha! I've been traveling, so I couldn't reply until now. Thank you for your kind comment. As long as you're on your feet in a spell of acrophobia, you can move and extract yourself. Once you sink, you're frozen. I've been frozen in a lot of places ~ LOL! But I'm way better at high spots than earlier in my live. I'd like to desensitize that fear right out of me. Probably won't happen in this lifetime, but I can always become less fearful! Have a happy weekend!

  13. WOW I absolutely love all of that incredible fall foliage. The most amazing, colorful, and magical time of year by far :)

    1. Thanks, Keith! I absolutely agree with your take on autumn! I'm playing catch-up again, after our trip to the mountains. Can't wait to see what question you came up with this week! Have a great weekend, and Happy Belated Birthday!

  14. Hi Louise! So sorry about the belly squirm. How terrifying! I love all the photos and the aspens. They are SO beautiful! Fall is my favorite! XO

    1. Thanks, Audrey! It's great to see you! Fall is my favorite season, and September my favorite month! Have a happy day!


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