Saturday, October 8, 2011

Colorful Colorado!

I've seen many a photo of the gorgeous autumn leaves in the mountains of Colorado, but now I can say I've seen it for real! We set out early one morning hoping that we weren't too late for the best display.  We headed northwest to Estes Park, planning on taking the Peak to Peak Highway south through the mountains, and then back across Denver. Last March when we first visited Estes Park we were surprised to find a large elk herd on the grounds of the historic Stanley Hotel. They were calm and unafraid of the many tourists taking their picture. This time we found them at the entrance to town at a park on the shores of Lake Estes. We think they are regular residents of the town, and are allowed to go where they will.

There was one huge "daddy" in the group, many females and quite a few youngsters. There were probably 20 or 30 elk altogether in the herd.

This was our first real view of the golden aspens. I like this photo because it looks like molten lava coming down the mountain. We are on the outskirts of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

I wonder how those aspens got up on the top of that hill?

A lovely view of Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak, left and center. Coming from the east approaching the city of Longmont this looks like one huge mountain with 2 points on the top. Closer up we could see that they were two distinct peaks. Longs Peak is in the "Fourteener" club, 14,255 feet, with Mt. Meeker a mere 13,911 feet.

There are lots of horses in Colorado! It would be quite an adventure to be able to ride horseback through the Rockies, getting the views up close and personal.

We came across a little old mining town hidden in a gulch down from the highway. Like many of the old towns in the hills west of Denver, this one once produced tons of gold, and is now ramshackle, a shadow of its former self. We liked the glimpse we had through the aspens. Of course we drove through it, and later read that the town, Ward, had been taken over by hippies! Interesting!
An old log cabin in Ward, surrounded by the beauty we saw everywhere. I didn't notice any other deciduous trees besides the aspens, mixed in with the dark green firs and pines. Their brightness makes the mountains look like they're on fire — a glorious sight, all too soon gone till the next year's autumn celebration of nature! God has shown us His creative awesomeness in this place!

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