Piney Lake, Colorado

After visiting Vail for the day, my cousin took my sister and I to hike at a place he enjoys visiting called Piney Lake, which is off away from the regular bustle of towns. We winded along the narrow, red dirt road for miles upon miles, listening to reggae and blues music. It was wonderful for the three of us to go out exploring, and bond for the first time in so long.

The most exciting moment of the daytrip happened along the drive up there – we saw moose! Moose are very private creatures, and despite their large size, they are quiet and easy for passersby to miss. Two moose laid in a sunny patch of grass beyond the road, and we watched them from our car, carefully taking pictures. It was amazing to see such majestic creatures, icons of the American West, enjoying the afternoon as we were. We respected their space and drove off to the lake.

The road transitioned from the forest into open, cloud-filled sky as we passed small ranches far away from civilization. We arrived at Piney Lake, greeted by stunning mountains. On one side of the lake, aspen trees glowed in the afternoon sunshine, while on the other side, stoic lodgepole pines stood tall.

Except for a hiker or two, and a family kayaking on the water, we were totally alone – but not lonely, for we were in the company of the the mountains and trees, which comfortably welcomed us like old friends. We hiked on the “road less traveled” into the aspen grove.

These notches in the aspen trunks are scars from former branches, which fall off as the tree grows taller and new branches sprout from the crown, or top, of the tree. I think they look like eyes, and they give aspen groves a unique allure.

What a wonderful day exploring!  Colorado is a place that is very much alive, you feel the ancestry of the forest and the timelessness of rocks and waterways. Humans are only a small portion of its history and the opportunity to create portraits of this place was both exciting and humbling.

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