It seems fitting that Fall officially arrived while we were in Colorado. While I love the reds and oranges of oaks and maples in autumn, it's the golden leaves of the aspen trees that bring the biggest smile to my face. And since we're going to have to travel somewhere to see any fall color, I was happy those slender mountain beauties rewarded us with a bit of their spendor on this trip.
The aspen had not yet reached their peak of fall glory but there were pockets of them that were spectacular. They'd surprise us as we rounded a sharp curve in the road, standing boldly in a splash of sunshine or painting an entire hillside with their golden hues, and in a flash the scenery would return to the deep, rich greens of firs and spruce.
Now and then there would be a cluster with dramatic reds and oranges, almost as if the tree was on fire. That seemed the perfect analogy as I stood looking up at this particular tree. As the nearly-round leaves fluttered in the breeze, the colors flickered like you would see in a flame and as leaves let go and floated to the ground, it was reminiscent of cinders. I was mesmerized by the beauty.
But the bark draws me in every time, too. You've got to admit that the white bark with it's distinctive black markings is eye-catching, especially when there's a sizable stand of them. We actually were looking for a cache near an old cemetery when I took this photo. Well, the guys were looking for a cache; I was looking at aspen.
Then there are the show-stoppers like this valley. The sun wasn't at the best angle for a photograph but it was an amazing view. Cars were pulling over from both directions in the hopes they could capture some of this beauty. It was probably the biggest and most dramatic splash of color that we saw, and you can see from the green leaves in the foreground, there were still plenty of trees yet to turn.
Whether it's one tree or a thousand, I never tire of the combination of white bark, golden leaves and blue sky.