In the above image, relatively high lighting angle causes the spreading leaves of the vine maple (Acer cirinatum) to glow, creating a pleasing contrast with the somber forest. We first became familiar with vine maples from the early, large format books of Ray Atkeson and Carl Gohs, portraying the states of Washington and Oregon. Vine maple appeared as a favorite autumn subject. Unfortunately, little of this work is available on the Internet.
We shot the above image along the Lake Shore Trail at Lost Lake in the Mount Hood National Recreation Area, Oregon. However, vine maples are not a rarity, and can be found all around Lost Lake, and in the fringes of the ever-green forest. The beauty of these trees certainly repays a bit of looking.
Vine maples may also be found in woods and along stream banks from British Columbia, Canada, Oregon, and Washington south into northern California.
Many first peoples used vine maple, for frames of fish nets, and occasionally for bows. Vine maple wood is tough and elastic, and makes a hot and lasting fires.