One of my readers from Australia, Diane, commented to me on my last blog post that Colorado must be the most beautiful state in the United States. I agree that it certainly is among the most beautiful, especially in autumn when the plentiful aspen trees here light up in shades of yellow and orange. I took the following photos on a drive through Guanella Pass from Grant, Colorado to Georgetown, Colorado at the end of September. A former wagon road, this pass has been traveled since the gold rush days in the 1800's.You may remember I showed this beautiful drive last autumn on this post, but since every autumn is a little different I thought it would be nice to show some new areas this year.
This 23 mile long high mountain pass is one of our favorite drives and we were pleasantly surprised to find that there has been quite a bit of road work done this year, where parts of the road that were gravel have been replaced by black top. Guanella Pass is still closed after the first heavy winter snow, however, as it is not fully plowed by the Colorado Department of Traffic.
Some of the aspen trees along the road near Grant were just beginning to turn gold, while others were in full color.
(All photos, and photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)
The weather was overcast but the trees glowed brighter the higher we drove.
The summit of Guanella Pass is above the tree line at 11,669 feet. There are many trails in this area, one of which leads up to the 14,060 summit of Mount Beirstadt. and also the 14,270 foot Mount Evans, along with other trails that lead to campgrounds and lakes.
The tundra plants in this area have taken up to 30 years to grow in the extreme winter cold and intense sunlight. It is interesting to see the differences that altitude has on what can grow in such a short growing season. This area can even get snow in July!
The jagged Sawtooth Ridge connects Mount Beirstadt to Mount Evans.
There are beautiful views in all directions from the summit of Guanella Pass.
As we approached the Silverdale area of Guanella Pass the autumn colors were spectacular!
The Colorado Blue Spruce is the state tree of Colorado, but Aspen trees could share that title. As a member of the Poplar tree family, aspen trees grow in all of Colorado's national Forests at the altitude between 6,000 feet and 11,500 feet
Inter-spaced between the pine trees they make a beautiful stripes of autumn color on the slopes.
We parked at the Silverdale pull off and took a walk. It's so peaceful here. As we walked we listened to the creek passing by the trail, and we were showered with the falling aspen leaves when a breeze blew many of them off the tree limbs.
My favorite spot on this walk as it always makes me think of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." What do you think? On this walk I took the trail on the left, next time I'll follow the one on the right.
Guanella Pass ends or begins in Georgetown, Colorado, depending on what direction you are driving. We stopped for lunch and strolled main street to shop. On a future blog post I'll show you more about the history of this charming mining era town and its buildings
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