Severe drought in 2013 caused Sudden Aspen Decline in the grove growing alongside the creek and in a much larger grove at about 9,000 ft elevation up the south slope. The creek grove lost less than a dozen trees. The higher grove lost hundreds which are still falling by the dozens each year. This one at the creek beside the low water crossing was large enough to fall and hurt or kill someone when it finally toppled so I brought it down yesterday and cut it up into firewood.
Hate to lose such a large, beautiful tree but it's just the grove's way of preserving itself as a single organism. It will be perfect stove fuel for the fast-heating fires next spring when I only need one each morning to enjoy with a warm drink and breakfast.
The surviving portion of the stand is still large enough to present a satisfying amount of quaking delight when walking along the banks of the creek–a naturally soft, soothing tonic.