(FOUNTAIN) – On the El Paso County Nature Reserve in Fountain lives Grandfather Cottonwood. A tree that has been standing watch for more than 150 years.
“It’s amazing to think of that tree standing that long. It was here long before us and it will be here long after we’re gone,” commented Rick Flores, a volunteer at the nature center.
Its most defining feature, its double sided face that has seen and held so much since the 1800s.
“They hold so much life, from birds to insects to animals, and people like to come here too,” stated Nancy Bernard, the nature center supervisor.
The tree acts as a key feature in a landscape some find to be spiritual retreat.
“It’s a place to come and get away from everything and talk to God, if you believe in that,” said Rose Martinez, a regular visitor.
However, with time and weather, this grand old tree is experiencing some wear and tear.
Some branches became weak and we had to trim them off for the safety of those on the trail,” continued Bernard.
The trimming cast a new light on the cottonwood. Prompting to see it in an even more human light.
“When you get older, you might not lose your limbs, but you lose a lot. You lose those you love, your memories, not on purpose but you do. So that’s what I saw when I looked at him the other day, and that’s the first time I saw him like that,” said Martinez.
Nature reserve employees and volunteers say they are dedicated to making sure this grandfather, sticks around for the next generation. Allowing even more people the chance to see and experience a living piece of history.