This tree is so unusual because it looks like a conifer and has needles and cones like a conifer, but changes color in the fall and drops its needles like a deciduous tree. It also is unusual in that the needles are soft as kittens' whiskers when you touch them. If you want to see this fantastic tree, you must pay your penance by hiking up the mountain past mud, grizzlies and snow into the thin and biting mountain air. Since you may not want to do that, I will post a few of the beautiful rewarding trees I saw on my hike in their bronze fall glory.
It is no surprise that they inspire poetry from great poets.
Though the season's begun to speak
Its long sentences of darkness,
The upswept boughs of the larch
Bristle with gold for a week,
And then there is only the willow
To make bright interjection,
Its drooping branches decked
With thin leaves, curved and yellow,
Till winter, loosening these
With a first flurry and bluster,
Shall scatter across the snow-crust
Their dropped parentheses.
by Richard Wilber