Sunday, October 13, 2013

10/12/13 Colorado Aspen Gold, late edition

Every day I live in Colorado is one that makes me certain whatever dust I am made of must have come from the Rocky Mountains. Seeing them calms and nourishes me in a way nothing else does. But of all days, this is the one I feel it most fiercely.

The aspens did, indeed, hold on for me to see them in their golden carpets along the mountainsides. I usually am seeing the first goldens against the un-turned greens, but this year, it was the last half of the goldens against the white trunks of empty trees. That's pretty fitting in a lot of ways of where I'm at, as well.

This year, I had a chauffeur. 

Sammi drove all six hours on the road, and what a road. We took a back way from our house, on County Rds 67/97, up to Mom and Dad's property in Victor, and it was 15% steep grades, tight turns without shoulders or guardrails, dirt roads, fog, and the morning slant of the sun popping out around corners to blind us. 

She handled it like a champ.

Which freed me up to take pictures as we drove, instead of pulling over constantly, so that we actually arrived in Victor on time and AHEAD of mom and dad. (That never happens.)

It does make for some shaky camera work out of car windows, but here's what I got on the way:

valley cloud from afar

valley cloud from aclose

the morning slant of slight and the mists off the Platte river


the burn area near Deckers is always stark, but when the fire cleanses away, aspens begin to grow

approaching Woodland Park

the climb to Victor

the sign we're almost to Victor

We pulled in and got out of the car in town about a minute before we saw their car coming down the hill toward us. First order of business, rest stop at the Visitor Center (cleanest public bathrooms in the world.)

(phone picture of the sweet little flowers over the sink)

at the Visitor's Center looking towards Mom and Dad's

Second order of business: since it had just turned 10:00 (opening hour) was to pick up the handmade brooms mom had ordered from the Victor Trading Co. He has a sign near the broom wall saying, "You own a $300,000 house and you use a plastic broom?!?"

phone pics of the Broom Wall

Then we piled into Dad's car and drove up to the American Eagles scenic lookout over town.

It was pretty chilly, so we didn't explore as much as we will next summer.

(the tree is growing out of the roof)

After that, we took a drive that got us around to the road visible from their property at the bottom of the valley, that runs near one of their thickest aspen stands.

The fifth wheel is visible at the top of the hill.

The valley below, where we imagine elk like to emerge from the woods for a drink. (We imagine hunters imagine this, too, and since it was the first day of rifle season, we were careful to stay in the car.)

The edge of their land starts at the base of the hill.

The owners of the house at the end of the road we were on (which they also own) drove out on their ATVs to make sure we belonged, and we chatted for a good bit. Mom and Dad had met their son's friend, who was bow hunting, a couple of weeks ago when he stopped in to say hello as they were cooking dinner. Out here, you get to know your neighbors, even if you rarely see them.

After that, lunch at the Fortune Club Diner, including dessert!

homemade cherry pie!

We caught Sue, owner and proprietor, laughing behind us

Then Sam resumed driving duties and we followed mom and dad up to their place. Along the way:

view of the front door

view from the front door

and, yes, it was a might cold and windy up top.

(that's the ASL sign for cold, done with shaking Cs and a crazy face behind the scarf)

Dad's newly placed sign

Quartz vein

I dunno. Sammi was running the camera here.

To warm up, while Mom and Dad tending to replacing a lock, Sam and I walked up to the highest rock formation to check out the view.

There's the road we were on earlier today:

millions of red and gold leaves carpet the ground

We took one more jaunt up the road, which bought us near the first property they'd considered, to grab a few more aspen shots.

Then back to our car for the drive home.

see ya next time, Victor

After we turned off at Woodland Park to go back through Deckers, we managed to miss the correct turn to stay on 67 that would take us back the way we came. Instead, we ended up taking County Rd 126 all the way up to 285 at Conifer. At one point, as we're going through scenery we've never spotted before, just generally pretty sure the road would still get us home, and we pass over this rise. Sam, now pretty tired of driving, says, "Yep, we're in Wyoming."

(We got back all of half an hour later than the original route.)


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