elk in rocky mountain national park, colorado

Day 4 – All that glitters IS gold…

HaHa! Lucky Me!!!

I’ve had the good fortune to see the autumn leaves many times this year. Several times in September I visited Grand Lake, CO which is located on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. To get there, I have to drive over Trail Ridge Rd. It’s the highest paved road in the U.S.SAM_0202

There are times the road is so high and the drop off is so steep I have to cover one side of my face as a blinder. It’s a two lane road with no guard rails and often has cyclists, tourists stopping their cars to take photos of wildlife, large recreational vehicles moving ever so slow and crazy weather conditions.

elk in rocky mountain national park, coloradoBut … on those rare days when I am on the road super early in the morning, I can sail along and enjoy the sights, drive at a comfortable pace, cover my face when it feels too steep and bask in this lovely park. One foggy morning I was driving and caught sight of these elk hard at work with their antlers tangled in each other. What a sight!

aspen gold2 - Big South Hike
The Big South trail, Colorado
View from Colorado Highway 14

A bit later in September, I had the opportunity to take a hike up the Cache La Poudre River. My friend and I were a bit surprised to get to the trail head and see the temperature had dipped to 39 degrees. We dressed in layers, grabbed our hiking poles and set off on an amazing trail that climbed ever so gently as it followed the river. That hike was filled with views of the shimmering gold aspen trees near and far. It was stunning.

My most recent trip took place in the Sierra Nevada’s this weekend. The 8 mile hike was uphill and steep in places. It was the kind of hike that your body could go far but you had to stop and let your heart slow down a bit. Aspens lined the trail and in many places the ground was covered with pine needles. I felt like I was walking in someone’s calendar photo. The return hike took 90 minutes because gravity just took over and we sailed down the mountain!

sierra nevada hike1 oct 3-2015

Sometimes I’m unable to enjoy the fall foliage. Either the weather changes too quickly and the leaves fall off before they can give their ‘goodbye dance’ or my timing is off and I don’t get into the mountains to see them in time.

But not this year. This has been one of the best autumns for me in a long time. I’ve stood in the mist of the colors, smelled the leaves on warm days and felt the cool air on my face. Each time I find myself standing in a grove of glittering gold trees, I count my blessings.

A golden day… in Colorado!

Autumn in Colorado is a splendid time of year.

If you get into the mountains at the right time, you’ll see an array of golds, yellows and reds mixed in with the evergreens. In addition to the gold hues is the brilliant blue sky. These are the types of days when digital cameras come in handy because every angle deserves several clicks. By the time the hike is over – the 100+ photos (many of them the same) bring back the smells, sounds and awesomeness of it all.

Hope you enjoy my photos!

Golden aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept 2012Golden aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept 2012Golden aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept 2012Golden aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sept 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rocky Mountain Sunset

sunset in rocky mountain national parkAn evening ride over Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mt National Park allowed me to see the sun set again and again as the road went higher and we drove further west. It was an amazing ride and great adventure this past weekend!

Trail Ridge Road traditionally opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 28. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbing to 12,183 feet and connecting the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake.

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Rocky) Mountain

Full moon setting on Mt Meeker and Longs Peak (Rocky Mountains)
Full moon setting on Mt Meeker and Longs Peak (Rocky Mountains)

Sometimes all it takes is getting out the door before the sun rises and the moon sets … there is so much beauty around us, isn’t there?