Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Tour of Colorado's Fall Aspen

Denise in a forest of Aspen trees

Today's blog post is a collection of pictures taken by my dear friend Denise, who, with her husband, recently returned from a road trip survey of Colorado's Rocky Mountain autumn color.

the bridge at the Royal Gorge
They headed south of here to visit the Royal Gorge, which is near Canon City and as you will see, is not a place for the faint of heart.

cable cars cross the gorge

The options for viewing the gorge are to drive or walk across the expansion bridge, take a cable car, or....

the Arkansas River

... just gaze at it from high above. There is also a passenger train that runs through this area, although I have no pictures of it.

Aspens in the Collegiate Peaks area

The majority of autumn color, by far, is made up of the golds and yellows against the deep evergreen trees.

We have been told that the result of the devastating loss of Lodgepole Pine trees has resulted in greater space for the Aspen to grow, creating more gold and (this year) giving us one of the most spectacular shows we've had in a long time.

St. Elmo, a ghost town
St. Elmo is a ghost town in Chaffee Country, Colorado that was founded in 1880 at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. Gold mining and the railroad were its claim to fame until the mines eventually shut down and postal service was discontinued when the post master died in 1952.

a tourist friend of ours in St. Elmo
Tourism brings many people to St. Elmo these days (during the summer months) where old mining roads are now used as jeep and four-wheeler trails. We hear that fishing is good at Chalk Creek, which runs through town.

St. Elmo's restored schoolhouse

Many of the town's buildings are still intact, although the town hall burnt down in 2002. Buena Vista Heritage is rebuilding the town hall to its original state. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

driving the Collegiate Byway

Mountains in this area are called The Collegiate Peaks, named for universities: Princeton, Yale, and so forth.

the Continental Divide
Signs like this are fascinating to me. All rivers on the left side of the sign flow to the Atlantic Ocean (or the Gulf of Mexico) and all rivers to the right of this sign flow to the Pacific Ocean. Also note the elevation: 12,126 feet. The air is getting pretty thin up there!

Rain moves in over Cottonwood Pass
en route to Independence Pass
Views of the Aspen forests look to me like God opened up all of His pockets to let the gold fall out onto the earth.
Denise looking slender and tall atop Independence Pass, Colorado
Beloved and I rode over Independence Pass several years ago. It doesn't look scary in this view, but suffice it to say, Beloved promised me he would never take us back up there again.

a warning to keep the speed down
There is a cop car with a sign warning people to go no faster than 30mph. Upon closer inspection, our friends saw the law enforcement officer is of the hearty type that remains in place year 'round!

the Twin Lakes area
The Inn, local lodging
rain clouds move in at The Twin Lakes
Rain or snow -- both are frequent visitors to the Rocky Mountains.

on the way from Guanella Pass to Georgetown
This is just a sampling of the pictures Denise shared with me during their trip. While we don't get a lot of the deep red, purple and orange leaves in our Colorado Rockies during September and early October, we are so grateful for the abundance of gold. 

However, it doesn't last long!  This morning's newscast showed us pictures of snow that fell at Vail just last night.

And so it begins... pretty much 9 months of winter.


  1. Great photos!! What a wonderful trip that must have been!

  2. Wow! such beauty and UGH, 9 months of winter. Goodness, that would be tough on this gal. I'd probably be hanging on for dear life in some of these pictures. Height and me are not good friends. :o)))

  3. That long?! Oh my. I had not realized that gold was the predominant color in The Rockies. I wrongly assumed that all foliage is the same as my experience. It has to be spectacular, though. Such expanses!

  4. Yes, winter is long here — but most especially in the mountains. Here in the foothills and plains it’s much more bearable. We get A LOT of sunshine year round, and that helps tremendously with snow melt, even in January. But the growing season is only about 3 months.

  5. Your fiend took wonderful photos, Barbara. We traveled around in early September before the leaves turned to see Great Gorge and Cripple Creek, but enjoyed a ride on the Peak to Peak highway to see the golden aspens a week ago--saw a lot of orange color this year too.