Uncommon visual feast of aspen foliage this year in Colorado
GRANBY, Colo. – Ron Cousineau agrees that it’s an exceptional year for aspen foliage in northern Colorado, with stands of red and golden trees uncommonly profuse in addition to the still-showy but more prosaic yellow. He just doesn’t know why for all the head-turning leaves, except is probably has to do with the heavy rains of late summer and early fall.
Cousineau is the district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service in Grand, Summit and Eagle counties, taking him from Gypsum to Grand Lake.
“I have been in Grand County for 23 years, and there may have been only one other summer that has had this much rain,” he reports.
In his years of aspen peeping, Cousineau has come to expect red leaves in two different stands near Granby. This year, he has seen them in many places. Plus, the stands that are usually red this year are absolutely resplendent.
It’s been warm, too, although not exceptionally so. There have been freezing temperatures every month, including June, July and August, but no hard freeze, he says.
Along I-70, the aspen from Beaver Creek to Silverthorne are riveting such as to constitute a distraction to those drivers who are not color blind.
But, the feast is soon to be past. Cousineau noted that even on Tuesday, leaves were starting to fall. Like me, he thinks the most pleasing time is when some leaves remain green. By this weekend, he thinks that we’ll be slightly past peak in Grand County. But his experience, like mine, is that the Granby area is at least a week ahead of Vail-Beaver Creek in this progression into fall. Farther west, at Kebler Pass, between Paonia and Crested Butte, the color show lingers even longer.