The Bridge of Flowers began life in 1908 as a bridge across the Deerfield River for trolleys connecting the Massachusetts towns of Shelburne Falls and Buckland. The trolleys eventually disappeared, but the bridge remained. It apparently could not be ripped down because a water main connecting the two towns was built into the structure. The bridge had become a rundown eyesore when an enterprising woman named Antoinette Burnham convinced the town to convert the structure into a flower garden in 1929. Since then the bridge has gone through restoration work and has been preserved until today it is a local tourist attraction.
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.