During my stay in Amherst, friend Kate and I drove up to Brattleboro Vermont to take a look. Among other things, we struck out to visit the home of Rudyard Kipling, which is located a few miles north of Brattleboro. It had never occurred to me that Kipling wrote part or all of Kim and other stories about India in a rustic New England location. File that under life is full of small surprises. In any case, the Kipling house is rented out to private parties – one cannot even enter the grounds to look at the house from the outside. Undaunted, we continued down Kipling Road for a ways until we came upon the Scott Farm. We turned into the driveway in search of apples – mid-September is apple season after all. The farm did indeed have apples, and it also was home to something called The Stone Trust – a school that trains and certifies people to build dry stone walls. School was not in session during out visit, but it was interesting to walk around the grounds and see evidence of the students’ efforts.
The road over Kebler Pass is surrounded on either side by one of the largest groves of aspen trees in the United States. Individual aspen trees do not each have their own root systems. Aspen groves form what are called “clonal colonies” with all of the trees sharing a common root system that originates from a single parent tree. Individual trees rarely live to be more than 100 or 150 years old, but the root systems can live for thousands of years, allowing new trunks to grow as older trees die.
In the Fall, Colorado’s mountains literally glow with the golden colored leaves of the aspen trees as they fall and cover the ground. Driving over the pass in the second week of September, I was a couple of weeks early for Fall colors. Instead I had to endure late summer green against a sparkling blue sky. What hardship!
Kebler Pass is traversed by a mosly unpaved gravel road that runs westward from Crested Butte, Colorado, to Colorado State Highway 133, some 33 miles away. The trip is an easy one – the curves are gentle and the slopes are not steep. I got started driving up the pass at around 8 in the morning on another crystal clear Colorado day. The peak in the distance is Mt. Axtell.
Looking west and slightly north from the summit of Slumgullion Pass, this image shows Umcompahgre Peak in the distance. The 14,320 ft (4365 m) peak in the center of the photo is one of Colorado’s tallest mountains. It was after 5 in the afternoon when this photo was taken and, while the sun is not directly in my face, I am close enough to facing it that I could not get any details of the mountains in the distance. They become pale silhouettes washed out by the sunlight.
In the lower left of the image, you can see Colorado 149 as it descends from the pass, winding its way to Lake City. By the time I got to that point along the road, the sun was close to dipping below the mountains to the west. Not being especially interested in driving a winding mountain road in the dark, I cut short any stops to catch images at dusk and hurried to the end of highway 149 where it meets US Highway 50 not far from Gunnison, Colorado.