October 16th, 2020
Yesterday after our hike into the slot canyons, we departed at 5:00 p.m. and drove north from Grand Staircase-Escalante on Utah’s Highway 12.
We were in search of camping, racing against the light as we found ourselves amid yet another region of spectacular vistas. The highway climbs through a magnificent stone valley with a river running through it, evident only from the ribbon of yellow and green aspens cutting through the landscape.
Just above this valley, we unknowingly arrived at Pando (“I spread” in Latin), also known as the Trembling Giant. Pando is an immense aspen grove — the world’s largest single living organism, supported by one root system. I read a bit about it last week but didn’t know at the time that our route would lead us through it. It wasn’t until we were driving past hill after hill after hill of endless aspen trees that I realized what we were seeing. The grove extends for miles, at a high exposed elevation, with most of the trees bare after shedding their fall leaves but some sections were still aglow with yellow and orange. Down the hills and to the east, sunset views of Capitol Reef National Park added another layer of red rock grandeur.
I so wish we had arrived at this area with more time to shoot photos and take it all in. It warrants a return trip. Seeing Pando at the peak of autumn must be one of nature’s most vibrant displays.
Our road trip has transitioned from desert rock and dust to fall colors. More tomorrow from Deer Valley,
Photo of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.