Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall in Colorado

For me, fall is my favorite time of the year.  Fall just smells different don't you think?  Fall is beautiful anywhere in the USA.  I've lived on the east coast, Maryland, Virginia and New York.  Fall on the east coast is very pretty, the leaves turn orange, yellow, red and several colors in between.  The hills and roadways are ablaze in color.
I've been privileged to see fall in New Hampshire and Vermont.  I can't begin to describe the black roads running through the mountains and hills until you come up onto a covered bridge over a running brook.  Entire hillsides in Virginia with so many colors you don't dare look away only to turn the corner and see even a better and more spectacular view.

Here in Colorado we don't usually have much red, some of the scrub oak will turn red and every now and then some of the aspen tree's get a bit of red on them.  Never any orange but lots and lots of yellow amid the very green evergreen pines.  The hills and mountains will get glowing in yellow as the stands of aspen and cottonwoods glow amongst the pine.  Every now and then a single tree, possibly a maple, will be seen peeking out yellow in a large stand of pine on the side of a mountain.  Almost as if Monet had used a single brush stroke to paint the tree in.  This time of the year the mountains are even more beautiful with the color of the hardwood trees ablaze in their dying glory.  Their leaves give one last hurrah to the world as they exit in a blaze of color to signal the end of one cycle and the beginning of another .  However, in Colorado you can't simply drive to the next town to see, really see, the trees in all their glory.  Nope in Colorado you have to drive into the mountains, sometime up to mountain passes, to see the trees.  We aren't like the East Coast with trees by the thousands along the roads our trees take a bit more effort to see, unless you stick to your neighborhood but who wants to do that!
There are several drives you can take and you don't need a 4 wheel or even an all wheel drive vehicle to drive on.  Ohio and Kebler pass are near Crested Butte Colorado and are nice flat forest roads with few bumps and NO rocks or need for a high clearance vehicle.  I recently went over Kebler pass in my Subaru Outback.
When you Google best color drive or supreme color drive in Colorado, Kebler Pass comes up as number one.  Not only does Kebler have the largest stand of Aspen in the state but North America and the world.  I wanted to see this because as those who live in Colorado know an Aspen is a single tree and to see the 2nd largest single organism in the world, well heck I was in!  
Kebler is easy to find just outside old town Crested Butte, just follow the 'scenic route' signs once in old town and you'll find it.  Part of the road is paved and the balance is nice flat forest road.  You travel up and over the pass through stands of majestic aspen and evergreen into valleys of rolling hills.  There are streams that support beavers, deer, moose and elk.  Don't forget the mountain views either - they are spectacular.  These long standing sentinels of granite peak out of the forest, some covered with snow. Last weekend was 'supposed' to be the peak weekend, however you will see there were a lot of aspen still to turn yellow.  I think this upcoming weekend and the weekend after that will be even better.
There are a lot of pictures but I hope you enjoy them.
This is the beginning of the road, nice and paved with a peak of the yellow aspen views to come.

Soon the road turns to flat forest dirt road.

Beaver hut and damn.

Part of the largest single Aspen.  The 2nd largest organism on earth and the largest stand of aspen in the world.

Aspen still left to turn their glorious yellow. 

These pictures don't do the colors justice, this is a must see and well worth the 4 hour drive!  Kebler and Ohio Passes are just two of the many accessible mountain passes that you can drive in Colorado, however, these 2 passes can be driven in a car.  No special clearance or 4 wheel anything is needed.
If you are more adventurous and want to 4 wheel it you can try Cinnamon or Engineer pass between Lake City and Ouray.
If you are looking for something closer to home you can try the road to Cripple Creek.  Here you can view the trees right along the road, they should be at peak right now.
So will you take the challenge and get out and see the leaves?  Let me know where you like to go!   If you take pictures I'd love to see them, share them on my Facebook page.

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