Autumn has always been my favorite season with its crisp air, and it seemed to come to the Rockies at the same time as New England last year. I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the oak and maple turning colors back east and then to come back west in time for the blood moon/eclipse aaand to witness the aspen turn to gold! Leaves like 14k yellow gold coins hung among the dark pine forest. A river of gold, riding above the treetops, held by copper mountains and silver clouds growing against a blue sky.
It was quiet. We practically had the place to ourselves. Driving through Ward, we made our way up into RMNP. We picked up a map at the Beaver Meadows entrance, and followed the road past tall blonde grass with patches of bluish-green that swayed in the wind. Given that there's really only a one-week span of prime foliage alchemy, or maybe because it was a Tuesday and school was back in session, we had so much room to roam and time to wander at our own pace. The park takes on a different feeling in contrast to the busy summer. We opted for a one-way rutted dirt road that was about to close for the season and snaked our way through some of the most magical alpine forest. It had rained and the fragrant soil and dead leaves were most welcome. There was a waterfall that we followed, too. It dropped a few times at the bottom and a few from the top. I brought a single roll of film, and we kept our eyes and ears peeled for bugling elk as the sun began to set. As the clouds rolled through the mountains, we came upon a bull and his harem grazing on a hillside. I can only liken the sound to the whirling of one of those long hollow tube toys as a kid. That and dinosaurs. What magic!