We recently moved to Colorado and heard all about the beauty of the aspens in the fall. We set out to search for the golden beauties one sunny day, early October. We chose Georgetown and Guanella Pass, as they were in a comfortable driving range from our new hometown of Arvada.
We were used to the leaves peaking in late October in Tennessee and didn’t realize how quickly and early fall comes to Colorado. Although the leaves were not in their full splendor, we had a good time spotting the aspen highlights. I-70 traffic wasn’t too bad for a Friday, but it slowed down right before we took the Georgetown exit due to a truck being on fire. Apparently, its breaks got hot and that was the end of that poor truck….
We drove up the mountain to Guanella Pass and stopped by a waterfall before snaking all the way to 11,670 feet. The scenery changed dramatically from the warm golden aspens to dwarf alpine shrubs and wild flowers, now dormant. I can only imagine the same place in the spring! In the distance, we spotted hikers and what we thought were mountain goats, grazing leisurely.
Back down the mountain, we made a quick stop by the Cabin Creek Hydroelectric Plant which uses a clever system of moving water between two water reservoirs (lakes), maximizing production at peak demand. The water that is pumped through turbines during high demand hours is stored in the lower reservoir. Then, in the early hours of the morning when electricity demand is low, water is pumped back to the upper reservoir. This makes Cabin Creek a very nimble and one of the most efficient power plants serving the area.
Along the way, we spotted a patch of golden trees and took a quick detour. Behind the trees, along the river, there used to be an old mining camp called Silver Dale. Now, visitors can enjoy a peaceful hike along aspen-lined trails. We chatted with two ladies walking their sweet old dachshunds. I walked in a pocket of aspens and breathed in the smell of freshly fallen leaves, while I admired a cheerful little evergreen decorated with golden aspen leaves.
Before heading home, we strolled through old Georgetown, now quiet but still charming, decorated for fall celebrations.