I have, apparently, become impossible to hike with.
This weekend was one of peaks for fall color - which, in Colorado's high country means everything is yellow yellow yellow. That's because aspens are basically the only deciduous trees in the mountains and they turn gold in autumn.
Aspen trees are as charming as they come, to my mind. Standing armies of stark white trunks, quivering heart-shaped leaves, a delicate rustling sound. Also, they share a root system, so while they may look like individual trees, they are really one big interconnected community. This appeals to me on a metaphorical level.
I was preoccupied with finding the perfect aspen grove and capturing that fleeting, magical fall feeling.
But this weekend reaffirmed my suspicion that a photowalk is best undertaken solo. It doesn't adhere to the logical forward progression of the trail. It is winding and slow and moves in fits and starts, guided by generally imperceptible shifts in light and shadow and halted by tiny details.
I noticed this weekend that it is probably only minimally enjoyable for, say, a squirmy 35-pound-toddler or the lucky patient strong parent who must carry him.
My hope is that fresh mountain air and quivering golden aspen leaves are their own reward.