"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

23 September 2014

The Days of Gold and Rust

A lovely windbreak along the north ridge of west Loveland Pass. I named thee The God's Throne. Class, any guesses as to whose heretical backside may have sat there to take in the view whilst munching a trail snack?

Looking at Eagle Rock again. Obviously, autumn has up and popped here in our Sahel...

Up top of Mount McCellan at over thirteen-thousand feet. Torrey's Peak, in the distance, certainly is striking, and could lead to deep contemplation. However, I edged to that point at a crawl. Beyond that ledge was the naked space leading downward to the Steven's Gulch Trail some couple thousand feet below. I wanted the view, but not the vertigo...

Another from west Loveland Pass, this time around the krummholz. This may very well be one of the headwaters of the very river that runs across the street from my house...

It is a safe assumption that the aspens are peaking throughout our Sahel. There is a certain mysticism of walking through a wooded area with the golden leaves floating down like snow. The tundra is a riot of various shades of rust. Raptors soar upon the descending jetstream, hunting marmots and pikas as they scurry about in preparation for the coming winter.

I've been craving the alpine more than below timber as autumn advances. Soon enough, the snow will fly and it will stick. Up high, this means some places will present higher avi danger, therefore, keeping me away until summer comes once more. Somewhere like Loveland Pass, it means the Backcountry skiers and boarders will be out, and they are not always courteous to those who recreate in the snow upon snowshoes.

It's also hunting season. I am mindful of which wooded areas I go to as to avoid a case of mistaken identity. Certainly, I've established I'm tall. Freakishly so-superfreak, thank you-some have said. It would certainly to be awkward for someone with a rifle to take my walkabout rhythms as the movements of a lithe moose.

 Like the alpine inhabitants, I find myself hurrying before the snow really starts to fly. All those places I want to walk and explore before they're sealed off and I frequent my winter grounds. As I wandered Loveland Pass today, a red-tail hawk few past me at eye-level as it gained loft to hunt. It was fantastic. There were no greetings or goodbyes as our gazes met for that brief moment. We were just two creatures wandering the alpine, in search of our own goals.


  1. The aspens on our surrounding mountains turned overnight, or so it seemed, about a week ago. One moment green, the next that vibrant yellow.
    The cottonwoods in town are about half-turned, same for the elms.
    We've had one of the nicest Septembers I remember here, it's gotten up to 70 most days, save two where it snowed......
    Yeah, it'll come to an end. But till then......

    1. We've had rain and snow above twelve-thousand. There is possibility of the line dropping lower within a week.

      Compared to last autumn, this has been lovely. Last year, it got rusty and then the leaves fell. I wonder if it wasn't that flooding maelstrom Colorado got.

      I look forward to snowshoeing, but I've got a few alpine places I want to visit first. In other words, I can wait just a bit longer.

  2. I would love to experience autumn in your neck of the woods. I have a feeling that autumn in a coniferous forest is quite different that autumn in a deciduous forest.

    1. Having lived in the southern US I can vouch for that personally. For one, up here, the leaves peak and go within a week to two weeks. The higher elevation seems to shorten and stretch things in queer and amusing ways.

  3. Excellent walkabout...and with really great photos, too! For my part, I'm taking deep, cool breaths of relief that autumn has finally arrived...

    1. To be technical, it's walkabouts; two treks up west Loveland, and hopefully another within the next few days and jeep trip up to McCellan with the magistrate. Fun times.

      If in January I catch you bitching about the cold, young lady...;p