Seeing Daylight through Aspen Trees…and a giveaway ~Tanya Hanson

MarryingMinda Crop to UseToday I’m giving away “book-ends”–the first e-book in my contemporary, inspirational ranch series, Hearts Crossing Ranch, as well as the latest, book seven, Seeing Daylight~so please leave a comment after you endure my lecture on Aspen Trees!

You see, Seeing Daylight takes place in autumn in Colorado, and last fall, Hubs and I witnessed the aspen trees in all their fiery glory, mostly yellow and gold, occasionally red. I still get goosebumps.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aspen are found throughout North America, from New England to Alaska, even down into California and Arizona. But the best, the most, and brightest are found in Colorado and Utah. (Aspen, Colorado was named that for a reason!)


Petiole–the stalk attaching the leaf to the stem–are long and flat, giving the leaves the chance to flutter or “quake” in the slightest breeze. Depending on their location, aspen endure temperatures as low as -78 F, and as high as 110 F. While they prefer moist soil, they can grow in desert climes that get a half a foot of rain a year. Their absolutely only requirement for survival is abundant sunlight.

With white bark and black scars, the aspen is often confused with the birch. However, birch bark easily peels like paper and aspen bark does not. And…an aspen isn’t really one tree at all.


A stand of aspen is actually one huge organism, a large system–up to twenty acres–of underground roots. When there is finally enough sunlight, roots sprout up into the famed white trunks which eventually shoot off leaves.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is called vegetative, or asexual, reproduction. These root systems are called “clones” and can live for thousands of of years. The oldest known clone at 80,000 years old is the “Pando” north of Bryce Canyon in central Utah. Five-to-ten thousand year old clones are more common,

Aspen are unique in another way…beneath that lovely white back is an inner green layer necessary for photosynthesis. Making sugars keeps the aspen growing all through the winter when other trees go dormant.

This green layer also becomes survival food for deer and elk when winters are long.

In the fall, the trees of each aspen “clone” structure will have the same color turning from green to gold or red at the same time.


The intensive root systems appear immune to plant diseases. The aspen is not endangered and never will be. Even dormant root systems come back to life…especially after a forest fire clears out other growth and brings back the sun.

The only natural enemy of the aspen are pocket gophers who, in abundance, can gnaw through root systems. But chopped up roots can still grow.

The aspen turn gold earlier in the mountains than say, Denver, and we sure timed it right during our vacation in Vail.



(view from our condo…pretty swell!)

Have you ever seen aspen? Did you find any interesting facts today? Please leave a comment to win either kindle or PDF copies of my “book-end” books.

SeeingDaylight_w4964_680 (2) HeartsCrossingRanch_w4841_300[1]



…a beautiful attorney widowed by a foolhardy man…a successful builder vanquishing guilt over his wife’s death. Can they rebuild faith and find love enough to give each other and their kids a happy home together? 

….Sixteen months since the foolish death of her husband, attorney Rachel Martin aches to move on as much as she fears the future. Cutting back on her practice and moving back to her childhood ranch means her three-year old son has all the attention he needs. Finding love again is the last thing on her mind…until she meets Brayton Metcalf.

 After ten year’s of self-blame for his wife’s death in a plane crash, successful businessman Brayton Metcalf is instantly drawn to Rachel when he brings his his daughter to Hearts Crossing Ranch for therapy riding lessons. But Rachel backs off at his impetuous personality. He whittles away at her doubts…until he jumps head-fist into a business decision that will affect her family. Rachel, her trust in Brayton endangered, turns to trusting in God. Can the couple’s shared grief and guilt permit them to see daylight once again?




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35 thoughts on “Seeing Daylight through Aspen Trees…and a giveaway ~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Tanya, I did not know any of this about aspen trees. I’ve seen them in pictures, and they are just so beautiful! One of these days, I’m coming up to Colorado and see them in PERSON. LOL It’s all interesting–amazing how we have these wonderfully complex organisms on our planet that we’re still learning about!


  2. Tanya, I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. My hubs and I had a house in Silverton for several years and I often say that when we round that last curve down into that mountain town and the aspens were on fire with their brilliant colors, we were hooked! That is when we went straight to the real estate office! Nothing like those Aspens!

  3. Hi Cheryl, I lived in Colorado one winter when I did my student-teaching, and visited in spring…but never got to be there in fall until last October. It was breathtaking. We got snow, too at the end…turning leaves and snow are just heaven for this Californian. I’ve seen quaking aspen in summertime in the Sierras, but them “on fire” was something to see. Wow.

    Thanks for the post!

  4. Melanie, oh, I so hear you. Every place we looked the scenery took our breath away. And the aspen, just glowing beyond imagination. We were so lucky to get to “live” there for a while. Gorgeous.

    And that Million Dollar Highway, yowzers. We enjoyed Durango and Ouray and, well, every inch that we managed to see! How luck are you, getting to live here for a while! Thanks for stopping by today.

  5. Tanya, I think aspens are so pretty. And when they turn colors in the fall, they’re simply breathtaking. I wish we had aspens here but they’re just not suited for this area.

    Congratulations on the new book! I’m so happy for you. It looks great. Wishing you much success.

  6. Hi Tanya, hooray the tech issues are resolved so we can all enjoy your lovely pictures. I really enjoyed the aspens in Colorado, but knew nothing about them.

    Love the title and cover of your new book! Though the story takes place in autumn it sounds like the perfect summer read.

  7. So it wasn’t just my computer being a problem. Good to know. 🙂

    I never knew there was so much info about Aspen trees! Thank you for sharing, Tanya!

  8. Hi Charlene, I still get shivers of delight just thinking back on those trees. Sigh.

    Linda, yeah, they don’t grow too far down south. But that makes them ultra-special then and a goal for you to reach!

  9. Hi Margaret, my editor and I had great fun brainstorming the title as the working title was quite a snore. It’s a rodeo term and fits the story so well…both the hero having ridden rodeo back in the day, and both of them, well, seeing various emotional recoveries. Thanks kindly, my friend!

    Sherri, the facts about the aspen absolutely riveted me, too. I thought they had to be related to birch so when I googled quick for verification when we were in Vail, well, I learned a whole new blog post LOL. Glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Hi Faith, yeah, I even got up early (Pacific time) so I could get the links posted and tweeted, sheesh. That’s why we decided to run the post tomorrow, too, since all the fillies had trouble as well and it’s a giveaway. So if ya want, come back and leave another comment. Each one counts LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi, Tanya! I have seen the aspens of Colorado and they are gorgeous! I had no idea that a stand of aspen is actually one huge organism. How interesting! Thank you for sharing this great post and giveaway.

  12. Hello Tanya. I have see Colorad’s beautiful Aspens. And, I love Colorado and have relatives living in Colorado near Denver. But, I lived in Jackson Hole, Wy. for six years. loved it there. they have beautiful there also. I have a necklace from Colo. with a real aspen leaf inside. Love it. Please drop my name in the Stetson for the drawing. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  13. Hi Tonya,

    As a former resident of Colorado, I can honestly say the groves of Aspens over the rolling hills is nothing short of spectacular. When they are mixed with pine trees in the state parks, you actually feel like you’ve been transported to Wonderland. Beautiful! I used to adore trips to Cripple Creek in the fall. So many colors of green and yellow.

  14. Hi Britney, I too was just amazed that the “clones” are one giant organism, and living so many tens of thousands of years, yowzers! Truly incredible. Thanks so much for posting…we are having tech issues here in the junction these past two days which is why my post is running a second day. Glad you could get here!

  15. hi Connie, yes, it is a difficult tree to go at home, LOL. I guess because they need room for all the clones. But that way it’s such a treat to find them in nature! I was so glad to see you here amidst our tech issues! Thanks.

  16. Howdy, Maxie, yup, Jackson Hole has got to be one of my favorite places. I visited LONG ago when it was still very rustic and small-town. Years later, it’s grown up quite trendy! We ventured forth through the Tetons then for a wagon train trip and wow, was that rustic! Thanks for stopping by today.

  17. Hi Lynn, I’n not that great of a photographer but thanks, kindly! It’s almost impossible to mess up the aspens though, huh. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  18. Hi Carolyn, yes, those fall colors are breathtaking. We’ve been to new England too for leaf-peeping (also spectacular) but there is nothing like fall in Colorado. I’d love to go back soon/…although we spoked out from Vail and saw many things, I know there is lots more to visit. Didn’t make it to Cripple Creek. Thanks so much for the comment!

  19. Boy those colors are beautiful… the pics are great!!! Interesting about the root systems… did not know about it… thanks for sharing! 🙂

  20. Hi Tanya,

    Great post! It really drove home to me how elegant our ecosystem is. A tree is so much more than just a tree. (I also like how you snuck a little reproduction in there too–albeit asexual. ;)).

  21. hi Sam, LOL back. oh, the asexual reproduction went deeper than that, sheesh, but I tried to keep it brief LOL. Thanks so much for coming by; it means so much to me! xoxox

  22. Hi Colleen, I ove researching topics for P and P and my books. I learn something every day. As a teacher, I always told the kids the day I stop learning is my last day alive LOL. Thanks for commenting today.

  23. Hi Mary, yeah, I’ve heard about “quaking” aspen my whole life so it was great to see them turn color and to learn how they work. Fascinating. Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

  24. I saw you mentioned how aspens could be confused with birch trees and I can see how that would happen. In my home state of Pennsylvania, there are plenty of birch trees and they make birch beer (a nonalcoholic soda) out of birch trees. I wonder if you could do that with aspens. Oak trees would probably be bitter.
    Seeing Daylight looks like such a good story.
    I wish you all the best, Tanya. Sorry I’m a bit late.

  25. HI Sarah, oh, you’re not a bit late, my dear. Due to tech problems the last two days, the fillies all decided to leave me post up an extra day. Interesting about the birch beer. We have a birth tree in our front yard and I love it. I wonder too about the oak beer. Acorns are supposed to be toxic and bitter. I’ll have to investigate aspen beer….come to think…that sounds like a potential book title! Thanks for posting today! xoxo

  26. Love the aspens. We’ve traveled there in the Fall many times. Last April on our way east the trees were just budding and on the way home the leaves were out. Lovely.

  27. Hi Nancy thanks so much for stopping by! Those aspen sure are something. I remember you telling me how you’d watched them turning, when you were on your way home. and wow, now I’ve seen it. too. Stunning!

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