Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aspen Graffiti

As if I don't have enough "hobbies" right now.....Several months ago the monthly Colorado Historical Society magazine had an article about aspen graffiti carved by sheep herders in Colorado in the early part of the 1900's. Seems these guys had a LOT of time on their hands and carving pictures in aspen trees helped pass the time. Some of the carvings were pretty pornographic and some sentimental.

That article sparked an interest in the subject and on my last couple of trips to Cottonwood Lake I started looking for aspen graffiti and taking photos of some of them. The first thing I learned is that there is way more carving initials and names than carving of any type of picture. So finding a picture is a coup. The next coolest thing is finding the oldest date. After about two months of observing my oldest date is 1965....That's forty years ago and coincidentally it's the average life span of an aspen tree so if I find any older than that I'll really have hit the jackpot.

The most unusual discovery on this last trip was Joe and Gloria Torres. If nothing, Joe is/was persistent. I found his declarations of love for Gloria on numerous trees with dates from 1969 to 1993!

Amazing, but there is a big gap in the 1970's. Did I miss those? Nothing since 1993. Where is Joe? What about Gloria? I guess I'll have to go back and explore some more.

Here's a few more including a communal tree which has served several generations of carvers.

Thanks for visiting.


Kanani said...

Wonderful pictorial! Funny thing about Joe and Gloria. I guess love is persistent.
Anyway, I found you through clicking on my own profile and finding out who else likes Kent Haruf on Blogger. You were one.
I've written something about him over on my blog.

Kanani said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Yes, I've read Ivan Doig --enjoyed it a lot. I love the western voice, an in fact, a product of it. Sadly, I find the voice disappearing in literature --especially an overall understanding and appreciation of it with new writers. I also loved Edward Abbey's last novel The Fool's Progress. Wallace Stegner has a daughter in law who is a good writer as well. Annie Proulx --YES, I reread her short stories often. And Chester Aaron is another not-so-well known person who wrote a fine collection of short stories called "Symptoms of Terminal Passion," also ranks up there. And for poetry --Robinson Jeffers is grand. And probably one of my favorite was Harriet Doerr!


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