Monday, July 21, 2008

Walking the Naked Lady Trail

Long before we moved to the Star Valley, there were shepherds and sheep here. In fact you can still find sheep on the Idaho side of the Star Valley, but alas, there are few on the Wyoming side. I’ve heard tell that the life of a shepherd is lonely and that might explain why the grove of trees near our home is the start of the “Naked Lady Trail.”

At first, it is said, the shepherds notched the aspens in order to find their way through the forest. Later, one (or maybe more) of the shepherds discovered that aspens were a fine medium for carving and thus was born the Naked Lady Trail. There was a trail of Naked Lady Aspens leading from Muddy String to Prater Canyon. I’ve only seen one of the Naked Lady trees over the years as they are mighty old, and aspens are not known for their longevity. I wonder how many there were in the "old days?"

As more people moved into the area, the trees have been cut down, fallen, died, or marred somehow by the passage of time. If you look carefully, you can see places where a lonely shepherd, to wile away the sweet summer days in the Rocky Mountains, might have carved Naked Ladies.

Nowadays, that same shepherd is greeted with a “more civilized” landscape with homes dotting the countryside, large expanses of alfalfa and hay, herds of dairy cattle, a few longhorns, a few bison (pretty tame) and of course a vast expanse of aspen forest with wildflowers littering the floor.

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