Striking gold in Colorado, autumn 2014
Just a nod to the glorious foliage in the Rockies this week. My calendar reminds me every year that September 27 is the average annual peak foliage day in the mountains, but a cold snap several weeks ago triggered early color.
The planets aligned and I went up last Friday to join my brother and bum around. What a treat to have hours of wonderful conversation with him while he drove and let me drool over the color. Maybe it was the matchless company, or the fact I didn’t have to drive. I don’t know. But it was a spectacular clear day, about 70° with a cool breeze and skies just like those in the photo. I remarked repeatedly that it was the most gorgeous foliage day I’d ever experienced.
We did not actually get as far north as RMNP, but seasoned leaf peepers along the Peak to Peak Highway know the best foliage is between Nederland and Ward. And this year the aspen was as thick and golden and luminous as in the photo. We circled up to Brainard Lake, above Ward, and then moved on to Allenspark, where we retraced our steps from countless family vacations, surveyed old cabins we’d stayed in and the newer homes of folks we know, drove deep into the woods on roads only the locals know, and stopped to visit with a longtime friend who still lives there. I hadn’t been in his old 1920s cabin in more than 50 years and the feeling was both strange and wonderful. Like time travel. Suddenly I was 20 years old again, and anything was possible. Climbing ropes and carabiners hung on the rough log wall, trusty old boots waited in the corner. A cool breeze wafted through the screen door. Outside a squirrel chattered encouragement and across the valley, Wild Basin and the Longs Peak Massif beckoned.
Reluctantly we finally headed back to my brother’s place west of Boulder, driving again through miles of the most extensive, brilliant gold foliage I can remember. Without a doubt, last Friday was THE day to be on the Peak to Peak.
Don’t miss the Denver Post’s gallery for more 2014 foliage photos. New pictures are being added every day.