Everyone acknowledges that it has been a weird year for weather. Our first fall here, two years ago, the foliage was brilliant, overwhelming, and in full color in October. Last year, it was gone by the end of September.
With all the fires and flooding, getting out to explore on a Sunday, as was our habit, has been terribly interrupted all summer. It seems like it rained every single Sunday all summer! So, tired of being prevented from exploring, we decided to set out on a recent Sunday to try to find some of the aspens changing color. There was no evidence of it anywhere near where we live (south of Denver), nor was there any to speak of heading west on I-70.
So, on a day where heavy thunderstorms were forecast (as usual), we made the questionable decision to head for the highest incorporated area in the country in search of the elusive foliage. Memories of spectacular foliage on the way to Leadville beckoned us.
Leaving our town, in a tee shirt for our 84 degree weather, we knew enough to bring layers and prepare for anything. By the time we reached Silverthorne, it was cold and rainy. Exiting just past Vail for Leadville, it got colder and darker as we drove; but we forged ahead. It got as cold as 36 degrees during our sojourn!
Things looked bleak until we reached the fabulous bridge and decided to explore Red Cliff. In spite of their bloody history, there is not much left to see there, so we went on to the Camp Hale area, between Red Cliff and Leadville. Last year, this area was particularly stunning in the fall. This year, we didn't hold out much hope.
However, in spite of the low-hanging clouds, the rain, and general gloom, we found the foliage lovely. It seemed to light up the otherwise dark and drizzly day. This is definitely a place to go when you are desperate to see lovely foliage. The lake is surrounded by fiery yellows, oranges, purple and other hues of the rainbow.
Leaving there, and heading into Leadville, we also left the foliage behind. All was not lost, however. Dinner at Quincy's historical restaurant is a rare and inexpensive treat. They have a limited menu--6 oz. filet mignon with baked potato, salad, and roll for $8.95. I think our stop at Subway for lunch cost more than that! And, it is a delightful old place, well-preserved, with excellent food. Worth the trip even in the rain, and without much foliage!