High Country Hues

Heading UP to the High Country – that’s no joke. It’s ear-popping fun shooting over Monarch Pass at 11300 feet, or thereabout, and then ending up in a vast “valley” that probably runs at around 10000 feet, at least until the next peaks point into sight.

But it’s late September, so it’s not just the peaks that shove their way into your sightline; it’s the color gold. Not jewelry gold. Not corn ear yellow, either. It’s an absolutely brilliant Mountaineer-ish gold, but of a soul-piercing, memory-burning variety that only Mama Nature could produce, on aspen leaves that shake and quake with the slightest breeze, glowing in the scorching Western sun that has thus far traveled with us on the trip.

And this incredible gold surrounded us in patches and splotches, spattered across the sides of otherwise pine-laden peaks as if sprayed there on a whim with a garden hose. And then we arrived in Telluride, best known as a winter playground for snow sports, but actually a town worth seeing in most any weather. Quaint and walkable, it’s surrounded by imposing mountain peaks that make you feel insignificant, or at least until the stars (so.many.stars) arrive in the night sky and spell out your insignificance in numerical fashion. It was here we caught part of the lunar eclipse, too, which was amazing.

And when morning came, we caught the free gondola ride through thick aspens to Mountain Village, the “top half” of the ski resort, and gobbled up the views from above.  Unfortunately, we had to leave Telluride, but we would not be disappointed. The San Juan Skyway was an absolute dream show of foliage, and totally prevents the car snoozing that I am especially capable of…

I’d tell you that’s it on gold, but it wasn’t. We had a day and a half in Durango that followed, and I’ll get to that soon enough..

For now, I’m going to make up for that lack of car napping…

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