Another amazing story by UtahRob. This one’s enchanting, mystical, and bitterly harsh all at the same time. Just wow.
Word count: 1,174
The trail is marked by hoof prints and pungent piles left by saddle horses and pack mules, reminders that the Elk hunt is on. Just two weeks ago the mountains were decked out in their fall finery. The aspens were still green on the ridge tops, but lower down they shimmered light green, brisk yellow, and burnt orange. Scrub oaks dotted the slopes with living reds, and the aspen’s canopy was pierced by alpine firs, the forest greens of the living, and the rust browns and silent grays of the dead and long dead beetle killed. But two weeks in the high country can be a whole season, and now the fir’s vivid greens stand out against the stark, white, skeletal outlines of hibernating aspens. The leaden sky, while not yet threatening, feels confining and foreboding. The willows are bare and brown…
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