Fall in Colorado. My favorite time of year in my favorite place in the world. Everything comes alive in September and October. We’ve survived the heat of summer and the air is sweet, cool, and delicious again. The sky is a deeper blue, the foliage begins to turn. Days are brilliant; nights are crisp.
And with all that comes the urge to get out and drive. To get in the car, aim for the high country, and go. I did that a few days ago — headed out to see some of that why-I-moved-to-Colorado country. But I was too early. The majority of the “color” was still the rust of beetle-kill pine. The scenery was mostly from years of memories. The miles of mountainside, instead of being blotched with dead trees, became seas of verdant blue-green pine. The few groves of yellow-tinged aspen and willow turned to waves of luminescent, shimmering gold. The occasional sprays of brownish sumac were crimson arches.
Memory failed, however, to fill in the elk I’ve seen in past years, the elk that usually dot the meadows all around the town of Estes Park. So in the early afternoon, when the weather turned and the clouds and mist blotted out the peaks, I headed for home, promising myself another visit this coming week, and again the following week, if necessary, to refill my memory bank with up-to-date images.
That was the plan, anyway. Then yesterday something in my car started screaming “fix me ASAP,” so it’s going into the shop Monday. I’m stranded, unless and until it gets fixed — if it gets fixed. With a 17-year-old car, one never knows. But I’m just sick that I could be stuck at home during what is usually the best week of the entire year to be in the mountains. By all indications, it will be THE peak week for foliage.
Meantime, I came across a delightful slideshow on the Denver Post website, showing exactly what I’m missing right now. The fishermen are busy along the Big Thompson near Estes, and so are the elk. Enjoy.