08 October 2015

Stardate 2015.770


Hi folks. Autumn in the high country is winding down. With each fall storm, a bit more snow makes an appearance. To catch the end of the leaf season, Snowcatcher and I recently visited Crested Butte, Colorado, again. (We ought to just move there.) Although we missed peak colors, plenty of radiant fall vegetation caught our attention.

As for my photos, my little point and shoot is getting tired. It has survived rough landings on rock, dirt and pavement over the last 10 years. Twice, it's fallen out of a jersey pocket and hit the road at 20 mph. I hate to think of how much sweat it's had to endure as well. So I gave it a weekend off. Instead, I put the iPhone to work. I had okay results. I dislike everything being in wide-angle. But it did a decent job – for a catch-all electronics device. I hope you enjoy Day One of the tail end of CB's leaf season.

The scenic approach to Ohio Pass fills the senses with warm earthiness on a bright autumn afternoon. In the distance rise the Castles. Behind the Castles, West Elk Peak, the highest peak in the West Elk Range, touches the clouds at 13,035 feet. It's the 617th highest peak in Colorado. Lacking the crowds that are drawn to the higher peaks, the West Elk Range is still a wild and rustic place into which one may disappear.

The east end of the east-to-west Anthracite Range allows southerly access to Ohio Pass, Kebler Pass and the Ruby Mountain Range. The latter is actually a sub-range extension of the Elk Range proper; it also embraces the isolated and striking Raggeds Wilderness area.

Fall is a special time to visit this region. It's kind of like stepping back in time. Real cowboys are putting in long hours on horseback to herd their product down off of high mountain pastures. With all the livestock herding, the road can be an elixir of dust and bovine byproduct. You get a bit mangier with each passing vehicle. You feel like a kid again, rolling in the dirt. It's a hoot! Kids do still play in the dirt, don't they?

Future forest soil nutrients


A Populus tremuloides (Aspen) grove filters afternoon sun along Ohio Pass.

I like drying ferns; they look prehistoric and straight out of the Jurassic Period.

The stored nutrients of decomposing leaf litter patiently journeys its way back into the catacombs of the forest soil.

Colorful Ruby Peak rises to 12,644 feet, as seen from the west side of Kebler Pass.

The eye-catching fluted ridge lines of 11,348-foot Marcellina Mountain provide a pleated late afternoon backdrop from Horse Ranch Park.

That's it for now. Check back for Day Two...


1 comment:

  1. This really was a fabulous trip; everything about it, from the leaves to the hiking to the rustic accommodations. It's really cool to see our eyes saw the same things as we were looking for photos! You did a great job with your phone camera, especially those leaves with moisture. Excellent!


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