Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fantastic Fall Colors

 The fall colors in Great Basin National Park have been amazing this fall. The temperatures have stayed mostly above freezing, and we haven't had rain in 45 days. Thus the colorful leaves have held on longer than normal.

I took the kids up one day, and we had fun wandering around the campground. When it became a game ("get up in the trees and don't let your feet touch the ground"), their smiles came easily.

I wanted to hike, though, so I went up early one morning, arriving at the Wheeler Peak summit trailhead before sunrise. The array of colors made my heart beat a little faster.

The sun rose as I was nearing a big aspen patch, and the yellow glow was amazing.

I came out to a clearing where some red aspens looked like they were on fire.

I wandered off trail for a bit, not sure what I would find. I saw beauty all around me.

Then I found the old Wheeler Peak trail, which I had seen a few times from above. It was still in remarkably good shape (the newer trail is much easier!). The colors were great here too.

My goal was to get above Stella Lake and get it in a photo with some fall colors. That part wasn't too hard. But getting down from there was so steep! I had some crawling moments.

Back on the trail to the car, I had to stop again to enjoy the beautiful aspen canopy. Sigh. I could have just stayed here all day, but alas, I had to go to work.

I didn't think I would be up there again very soon, but it turned out we had a backcountry carryout the next day, and the helicopter landed in the meadow at Wheeler Peak Campground. The yellow aspen made for an especially scenic backdrop.

I just had to go see the colors about a week later. The highest leaves had fallen off, but colors were still good just a little lower on the mountain. And we got to watch a most marvelous sunset.
We're expecting rain for about a week, with snow at the end of it, so lots of leaves will be coming down soon. We've been blessed with such a colorful display this year.

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