Why are the tree lines so crisp, the dead grass glowing in the early morning sun? The images jump out at Aki and I as we climb the trail leading to Gastineau Meadows. We won’t be able to ask for an answer from other hikers. Strong, pulsating winds seem to be keeping them off the trail.
I find the answer by looking at the trailside alders. This late on a normal October morning, not one leaf should still be clinging to the alders. This morning trailside alders seem weighed down with leaves that have curled up tight. Are they hoping for a return of warmer weather? Or are they stalling long enough for the leaves to send their nutrients down to the tree roots?