The Shock of Fall Color in Colorado

Shocked by the arrival of fall? I was. Here in Colorado, the aspens are ablaze with golden fall color. For the first time in my life, I white-knuckled summer and didn’t want to let go.

Golden aspens in Breckenridge

It’s one thing for fall to arrive on the calendar and quite another to be in denial and in shock by the abrupt end of summer. I am usually ready to start a new season, but 2020 has been anything but normal. I neither swam nor took a vacation and avoided social gatherings like the plague — which is treatable with antibiotics. As you know from your own experience, this is the weirdest year ever!

So when I hit the Aspen Alley trail in Breckenridge, I couldn’t help but feel shocked. Time marches on, and so did I while hiking up the mountain.

It didn’t take long to embrace the scent of decomposing leaves and the beauty of the aspens contrasting with the bright blue sky.

So many leaves had already fallen.

It’s always fun to see wildlife, and bear claw marks are the next best thing.

Although many trees were almost bare, I found some that had only begun to shuck off its green sleeves.

I found beauty around every corner,

Aspens and fir fall color in Breckenridge

Under a canopy of gold,

And peeking through the gold leaves of aspens.

Coloradans have endured months of smoke and record high temperatures, so I was grateful for the gorgeous day. It’s hard to believe we had a record-breaking snowstorm to start the month! As far as the beginning of fall, the shock is wearing off.

After hiking during the peak of fall color, my attitude adjusted to all things pumpkin, apple cider, and caramel apples.

Are you ready for the change in seasons? Do you experience fall color where you live? Did you enjoy the summer?

50 thoughts on “The Shock of Fall Color in Colorado

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    1. Thanks, Darlene!

      Right? 2020 has been horrific in so many ways. And my stress level has been so abnormally high. So much of it is out of my control. Lots of impending DOOM!!
      And so I took a few cleansing breaths and embraced the passage of time. We’ll get through this one way or the other. In the meanwhile, let’s toast a mug of cider and enjoy a piece of pumpkin bread. Someday, I’ll reach back in my memories and will try to remember what this felt like. LOL! I can’t wait!


  1. I agree. I am not ready for fall. I feel like we did not get to experience summer yet! The colors on the trees look beautiful! We are headed that way tomorrow so I am hoping the colors hold out for a bit yet!!


          1. I saw that!! We have packed for all
            Weather!! Lol 14 day trip, going to
            Utah Parks after Boulder then Telluride and Aspen, finally back to Boulder!! My son bought a house in Lafayette so we will
            Be in the Boulder are you see him and his wife at the beginning and end of the trip!! I have a question for you, have you hike the Royal Arch trail in Boulder? Is it a a good hike, meaning is the arch and view pretty cool??


  2. Although there’s no denying the beauty found in Colorado, the autumn colors found in northern Wisconsin are absolutely stunning. I haven’t been back in the Midwest at this time of year in 30 years and it has not disappointed. I’m loving it, but we’ll be hitting the road soon. Certainly don’t intend to get caught in a snowstorm.😏


    1. It’s early for snow in Wisconsin, but not Colorado!
      I grew up in Madison. With the variety of deciduous trees, it is breathtaking in a different way. If you can find a bluff over maples and oaks, the color is stunning. Here we have the blue to purple hues of mountains that contrast with the golds. We traveled to Maine one year for leaf peeping. Their leaves all turned brown and fell courtesy of a dry summer followed by torrential rains. GAH! Sounds like you had perfect timing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The images are so beautiful Susie. After really high temperatures and smoke and the experience of apocalyptic sky, I can’t wait for the fall. But looks like we have another week of 90’s and 100’s before that.


  4. The colours are beautiful, but the thought of winter…. Not being a skier, I’m not so excited about the thought of snow. I hate to see the end of summer, the end of gardening time, the end of flowers blooming, birds singing, etc. But it is a wonderful time of year if you don’t think about things like that, and just enjoy the colours, the warm days and cool nights, and mushroom picking. It’s always good to look for the positive, and this year we may have to look a bit harder with all the negative things going on around us. I love the photo of the bear claw marks.


    1. This was the summer that wasn’t. We are still breaking heat records and the smoke is back. I snuck in a bike ride yesterday.

      Have you ever tried cross-country skiing? It’s good exercise and a way to hike in the winter!

      I’ve never been mushroom picking. I have a few in my yard but they would probably kill me!!

      You wouldn’t believe the stress of living in the US. Every day something more ridiculously terrifying happens. All we can do is vote.

      Yes! Bears are active this year. I’ll be on the lookout when we sneak over to Aspen tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cross country always seemed like too much work. But so is mushroom picking. It is a really good workout, stepping up, over, and under fallen trees or logging slash, trying not to slide down steep wet slopes, or worse yet, climbing up them. But the rewards are worth it and the exercise is good. You have to go with someone who knows mushrooms the first few times, and then it’s easy to recognized what to pick and what not to touch.
        And yes, the bears … I don’t sleep well the night before we go picking, worrying about bears, but then I get out there and I forget all about them in the search for the next mushroom.
        I hope your smoke goes away. Ours is gone now, after about ten horrible days, but I’m just hoping it doesn’t come back. The rain helps.


        1. I had heard about the rain. There should be more on the way now that it’s fall. 🤞 It’s smoky here this morning, but Colorado is on the edge of your storm. It’s going to get super windy and then snow in the mountains! Yay!

          Cross country is easier and more fun than snow shoeing since the skis slide over the snow. I’m usually looking for a little exercise anyway. ⛷ Hut skiing with a heavy backpack is strenuous. It’s a workout!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul! I grew up in Wisconsin and know what you mean. Here, we have the mountains and the abundance of aspens. This year, many of them have turned red, which could be from the early frost. I found an amazing leaf peeping place along a turquoise green river. More photos to come!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dude you are totally in it! Those pictures of the trail look so good. We don’t really have Fall Season with awesome orange, red, and yellow leaves. We have fire season where the sky is brown and the sun is orange. But those clear skies right there loo pretty sweet. Glad you’re ready for pumpkin spice to come along. We’re still wondering if we’re heading to the farm or picking up our pumpkins down the street. Happy Fall to you 🙂


    1. Happy fall to you, Guat!
      I think you’re really safe if you wear masks. We drove to Aspen yesterday and ate at on the patio of a restaurant. The waiter couldn’t believe it was our first time. It’s unnerving to be maskless with others around, but there was a nice breeze. Pitkin county is small at 17,000 but their COVID case totals are 1 per day. Boulder county is 100 times that with CU in session and parties on the hill. I can’t wait until 2020 is OVER!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man! Us too! It’s rough when you like the beach and Outdoors but can’t go. The masks helps with the air quality but you could still smell the smokiness. It is better though. Hoping for cool weather to help the contain the rest of the fires. But you know what would really help? Stopping these baby reveal parties because burning down a forest just to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl is not cool. You’re gonna find out in a couple months. If they wanted that much excitement waiting until they gave birth might fulfill their excitement level. Glad you were able to get out though. Stay safe and away from campus 🙂


  6. Our fall season isn’t until early November. Then not nearly as beautiful as yours. We generally go up to visit my daughter in Charlottesville in the Blue Ridge to get our fall color fix. Your photos are exquisite as always. Hoping the color has come back to your knuckles by now.


  7. Love that I have friends throughout the U.S. that can share their worlds and love seeing the Fall colors 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!


    1. Me too! Thank you, Victoria! I’m ready for apple pie, slab apple cake, and apple crumble. LOL!

      If we could just stop these forest fires. Man, I can’t see the mountains today since the Cameron Peak fire blew up again last night. I smell smoke INSIDE my house!!!


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