Rust never really sleeps
September 16, 2008
ASPEN ” I’m probably biased, but is there any prettier place this time of the year than Independence Pass?
My family escaped on a weekend getaway in Leadville and driving over the Pass on Saturday and Sunday was a treat. We were greeted by cobalt blue sky, green forests, snow-capped granite peaks and hillsides ablaze in brush turned yellow, brown and red. (Moses’ burning bush had nothing on these.)
As cool as the yellow aspen leaves are, the highlight of the trip was turning a corner on a couple of occasions and seeing whole hillsides converted to a deep rust color. Mountain Boy Park, just on the Twin Lakes side of the Independence Pass summit, was the neatest of the rusted hillsides.
It’s barely more than two months since the snow cleared out of the high country and fall is already making a full assault. Rust, indeed, never sleeps.
The aspen leaves are turning a lot quicker on the Twin Lakes side than on the Aspen side of the Pass. There are already a few streaks of yellow on the high peaks and vast tracts where the deep green is giving way to a paler tint. Unfortunately, it looks like there will be a few spots along Highway 82 where the leaves just turn a sickly brown color and fall off without the usual brilliant display.
Warm, sunny falls days with cool but not freezing nights are supposed to draw out the best colors. It was pleasantly warm in Leadville, but the low Saturday night fell to 28 degrees.
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On the Aspen side, a rouge aspen tree was turning yellow but generally the trees were still a healthy gree. The Difficult side of Richmond Ridge, one of the most spectacular fall scenes in Colorado, wasn’t even teasing with yellow yet as of Sunday.
The U.S. Forest Service reports that colors are just starting to emerge in Maroon Creek Valley. Pictures are posted each Tuesday at
http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/rangerdistricts/aspen_sopris/mb_scenic_site/index.shtml to track the progress there.