San Juan Mountains Sunrise
The San Juan Mountains glow with morning light,Dallas Divide, near Ridgeway, Colorado
I’ve traveled to the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado multiple times for extended backpacking trips but never during autumn. I had been missing an amazing show, until this year, when I was fortunate enough to arrive at the peak of fall color. The Aspen in one of my favorite trees. They are a fast growing trees which form clonal colonies of white trunked trees with flat leaves that flutter in the wind and turn wondrous shades of yellow and orange in autumn. Colorado is famous for its expansive aspen groves which thrive in its high dry, sunny climate.
I was joined on my trip to the San Juan Mountains by my good friend, Max Reitz. For me the adventure was largely photographic yet it was also a pilgrimage to the familiar terrain where Max and I had backpacked more than 20 years before. Our previous trip to Colorado was at the peak of summer when the Rocky Mountains were decorated with wildflowers and layers of green trees. Our timing for an autumn adventure in the Rocky Mountains was outstanding. Days were warm and sunny, nights were cold and there were more golden aspen trees than I had ever imagined. I was astounded. Near my home in Bend, Oregon, there are some attractive aspen groves but they are minuscule compared to the expansive aspen forests of Southern Colorado.
I was simply stunned by the array of fall color. The aforementioned aspen trees were accentuated by a plethora of orange toned scrub oak and willow trees. The combination was synergistic and formed a magical mosaic of textures accentuated by autumnal tones.
During our trip, Colorado was experiencing some smoke from the devastating California wildfires of 2020. Fortunately, the smoke pulled back this morning, revealing the tapestry of Colorado fall color I enjoyed and can now share with you in the form of stunning fine art photographs.
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