WeekendSRLong Lake

Autumn Alchemy

WeekendSRLong Lake
Autumn Alchemy

Sunday, September 16, 2018 – Long Lake

A fine autumn day, and everyone brought their cameras, big and small, to record the annual autumn alchemy of Populus tremuloides, the quaking aspen.

I walked up to Long Lake from Brainard. That half-mile hill between the two lakes still sucks the wind out. Gotta do more hills, more cardio. That hill should be easy.

On the way down, I took “the road less travelled;” that is, the trail instead of the road. It was quiet and eerie, smooth and pleasant. Probably a good ski. I half expected a moose to appear, or an elk. None did.

The trail wound through the trees, seeming to be lengthy, when in fact it was not. It emerged near the stop sign where the road forks between Mitchell and Long.

Then it was back to the car, to the Peak to Peak, where a highway sign warned of heavy traffic due to leaf viewing.

Indeed, at the usual valley where a great swath of aspen decorate the landscape, a plethora of cars were parked. The western sky was cloudy and gray, with hints of light edging the clouds, as though the sun might emerge at any moment. People turned their backs on the aspen, on the sunset, and took selfies.

When one carries a DSLR with a hefty lens, people assume one is a photographer. And they ask for photographs, with their phones, of course: one becomes a selfie-stick. This is not entirely unpleasant, pressing buttons and seeing smiles, seeing people say cheese and smile, and smile again at the phone returned to them as though it’s a different phone, as though a time warp occurred and painted a moment of their lives onto their phones from a place of mystery: the front of the sunset, the edge of the forest, a place their selfie sticks cannot reach.

The sun came out for about 30 seconds, and I grabbed a shot or two. Alchemy achieved.

I slipped back to the car, stashed my gear, and headed to Ned.