Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall in the Rockies

There has been a chill in the air signalling the onset of fall which, here in Colorado, is quickly followed by winter. Over the weekend, we drove west into the mountains to see the Aspen trees as their leaves turn beautiful shades of yellows and oranges before the icy fall winds chase them to the ground.

This picture of the backside of Pikes Peak was taken from Woodland Park. There is already snow on the tops of the mountains above treeline.

At Wilkerson Pass, about 50 miles west of Colorado Springs, we stopped to admire the scenery. This is a favorite spot of mine. I just love the expansive views that open up as you round the top of the pass and cross the Continental Divide. Some of the snow in the distance has been there all summer.

Further west, at the higher elevations near Cottonwood, the Aspens were beautiful, but not quite yet at their full peak of color, but beautiful just the same.

The shy was deep blue with puffy white clouds building in the distance.

I think this is a pair of Gadwall Ducks that were feeding on Cottonwood Lake.

Typical of the species, they feed by tipping their bodies tail-up and diving for aquatic plants and seeds.

One of the many ranches in the area; I'm sure the name High Winds is apropos.

Another view of Cottonwood Lake. I think this would be a wonderful place to camp for a few days. I wonder if anyone would mind if we borrowed the small boat that is tied to the pine tree along the edge of the lake so we can try our hand at catching fish for our dinner. I can smell the trout cooking over an open camp fire now.

The clouds were building over the snow-covered peaks in the distance.

This picture reminds me of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World (minus Christina). In the painting, Christina Olson is crawling across the field towards a farmhouse in the distance. As a youngster, I thought the painting was odd - ugly and drab. I did not know the woman in the scene was actually a neighbor of Andrew Wyeth's that had an undiagnosed muscular deterioration, paralyzing her lower body and that's why she was crawling.

We stopped at Cripple Creek for dinner. I had enough points at one of the casinos for a "free" dinner. Of course, I had to play the slots for a few minutes before we ate. The dinner wasn't free anymore. Oh well.

The Hummingbirds are still stopping to fill their small bellies with sugar water on their way south for the winter - but not in the numbers we saw earlier in the month. I'm seeing more males now - with their bright red throats.

We are getting the ponds ready for winter. All of the fish have been moved to the lower pond and the upper pond is partially drained. We've turned off the falls but left the bubbler running so the fish have air. As the water gets colder (below 50 degrees) we will stop feeding them and the fish will hibernate in the mud at the bottom of the pond until the days start getting longer and the water warms.

In just two weeks we will leave Colorado to spend the winter in Fort Myers. I'm ready.


Elizabeth said...

stunning pictures!!

Ministry Mom said...

Ten years ago I was encouraged to consider a job in Colorado Springs. My marriage was in disarray and I really wanted to pursue the job. However, wise friends counselled to stay in PA until the marriage decisions were resolved. Now 10 years later, I'm divorced and remarried and glad I stayed in PA for the wonderful man I share my life with now.

BUT . . . I still love Colorado Springs. Won't ever live there, but hopefully might visit again, someday.