Paul E. Anna: High Points
September 16, 2010
Regular readers of this column know that I have a tendency to gush on a regular basis about the weather. It is, however, one of the things that makes living here in the Rockies so enjoyable, so I will not apologize for my unabashed enthusiasm.
Which brings me to this gloriously beautiful morning. From my perch, I am surrounded by a palette of colors that cannot be duplicated. Reds, oranges, subtle yellows. They are the kinds of colors that those who market paints dream up names for, but are, in fact, only found in nature. They glow in the early morning light and give the beginning of the day this incredible fall patina. The scrub oak is usually the first foliage to change color and this year, whether it was the summer rains or the ensuing dry warm days that we have been enjoying, it is particularly vibrant.
The yellow and gold in the Aspen trees has not kicked in everywhere quite yet, but when it does it should be off the charts. Way up high, a few stands of aspens have started to take on their badges of beauty. There is one grove in particular that is cutting a clear line of yellow down Snowmass Ski Area.
For those who ski Snowmass, the grove is just to the left and down below where you exit the six-pack at the top of Sam’s Knob. As you drop down on your way to the Big Burn chair, there is a stand of trees to the left that runs the length of the ridge. For whatever reason, it has burst brightly over the last couple of days and there is a brilliant line, almost like a yellow stripe, down the ridge. When the sun first comes up, I can see from my vantage point a silver necklace of chairs that look like they have lights on them bisected by a perfect yellow streamer from the aspens. It is gushable to say the least.
People argue about where the best fall colors can be found, with many opting for Vermont and New Hampshire and the deep forest reds and oranges. But for me, the aspens – with their almost gaudy golds – trump all others. And there may be no better place to see them than right here in the Roaring Fork Valley.
And above all of this beauty are the hot-air balloons that float serenely above the panorama each morning. They, too, add to the panoply of color that makes the coffee-time scene so spectacular. This week, the Snowmass Village Balloon Festival will bring a flotilla of the brightly colored airships to the sky, which will make for a photographer’s dream juxtaposition.
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Peak weeks are still a few days away and we are enjoying great fall weather here in the valley. For many, fall is the best time to be in the Rockies, so enjoy.
I hope I didn’t gush too much.