Last year an acquaintance told me about a place in the Sierra Madre’s called Aspen Alley.
She told of tall aspen tree’s forming a canopy of colorful fall colors over a dirt road. Her description was so charming that I couldn’t wait to visit.
So we headed there yesterday. Taking a cue from the aspen tree’s that we’ve been seeing on Pole Mountain and in the Snowies we thought we’d arrive just in time to see vibrant yellow leaves but we were probably a week or two too early.
This is what we saw.
And yes, Aspen Alley is beautiful and charming.
For me it wasn’t the kind of beauty that I find on the top of a mountain but the kind of beauty that I’d read about in a good book. As we walked down the road, stopping to take photos and looking up at the leaves of the tall aspen trees I couldn’t help but soak in the view.
Until I looked just a little bit closer and realized that nearly every tree along the road was scarred. Not scarred from fires or bugs but scarred by humans.
This beautiful and unexpected place has been the unfortunate recipient of graffiti courtesy of a bunch of jerks and their pocket knives.
I felt angry and then I felt sad.
Sad, because someone clearly never taught the poor pathetic fools who left their permanent mark on the white bark of the Aspen’s the meaning of the word respect.
Respect for the natural environment. Respect for others. We protect what we love. We love what we respect.
I wanted to find a date from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. I thought that if I could discover some sort of historical value in the situation I wouldn’t be so sad and angry, but I couldn’t. Most of the dates carved into trees that I could find are after the year 2000.
Once I realized that some people are just selfish jerks I was finally able to relax and enjoy the views again.
Regardless of the tree graffiti, it’s worth the drive to visit Aspen Alley. If you’re headed there from Laramie I wouldn’t make it your only destination, you can always detour through Saratoga for a dip in the Hobo Pool or lunch. Or stop to hike along the way.
The Sierra Madre are beautiful and clearly we need to spend next summer exploring them as well as the abundant trails on the “other side of the mountain” near Silver Lake.
Have you been to Aspen Alley? What did you think?