Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountains

Yesterday my wife and I returned from a wonderful vacation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We visited the towns of Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen in search of cooler weather and fall colors.

We found the fall colors but had no such luck with the cooler weather; the temperatures were in the mid 80’s during the day (global warming anyone?).

First stop, the old mining town of Breckenridge

While my wife visited the stores, I walked around town taking pictures of the gardens and the beautiful hanging baskets on Main Street.

This house had a plaque honoring the gardener that created the garden many years ago. Today, the house is a store but her garden and her name live on with this nice tribute. Don’t you wish someday in the distant future there would be a plaque like this in your garden?

Second stop on the tour was the ski town of Vail.

Vail was celebrating Oktoberfest.

Vail is the Disney World of the ski industry. The resort was built back in the 1960’s to resemble a Bavarian village and the ski mountain soon became world-class. Today, summer tourism has grown in popularity, an integral part of the local economy with flowers as the main attraction.

Third and final stop--the town of Aspen.

Aspen is my favorite town in Colorado and my wife and I have been coming here for many years. The town is located at the end of the Roaring Fork Valley and is surrounded by majestic mountains. Aspen was established in the mid 1800’s as a silver mining town and today the town celebrates its mining past with loving restoration of so many of the original historical buildings.

The gardening season in the mountains of Colorado is a short one but the local gardeners take full advantage of it.

While staying in Aspen, I like to walk the many miles of hiking trails surrounding the town.

A short distance from the town of Aspen is the White River National Forest and the striking Maroon Bells--the most photographed peaks in all of Colorado.

There are only two ways in and out Aspen from Denver and both are spectacular drives.
Driving from Leadville on State Road 82, you cross the Continental Divide at Independence Pass. While the drive is breathtaking, make sure you have a strong heart because, in some spots, the road is so narrow that only one car can drive through at a time with huge boulders on one side and a steep precipice on the other!

Driving on the much safer I-70 Highway, pass through Glenwood Canyon with the Colorado River running parallel to the road. The views from the bottom of the canyon are simply spectacular.

Aspen is known as the playground of the rich and famous and the evidence is seen in the many million-dollar homes built in the surrounding mountains and in the astronomical cost of real estate.
This is a town of haves and have-nots and the have-nots cannot afford to live here. Every morning buses from all over the Valley deliver workers to Aspen businesses and every night they leave. Aspen has hundreds of homes owned by absentee owners that sit empty most of the year, waiting for their owners to occupy them for a couple of weeks during ski season.


keewee said...

Rusty, thank you for the tour of a part of the country I have never been too. It sure is beautiful.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What a wonderful tour. Looks like it was a great time to visit also. The foliage in the mountains are already turning and looks so pretty. I love the old houses and buildings with the gardens though of course. I would enjoy a visit like yours also to see these sights.

Antique ART Garden said...

Beautiful scenery , very nice post.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Wow! Very different from my part of the world, and perhaps even moreso from yours. The colours and scenery are amazing. Glad you had a terrific time.

Darla said...

What a beautiful area. This may be the only way I ever visit Colorado!

freerangegirl said...

Amazing pictures Rusty. The houses and sceneryare stunning- it looks like a movie set - thankyou for sharing.