The cool fall weather had continued uninterrupted for several days. Ah, yes. The perfect time of year.
Yesterday it started raining at 3 AM and was continuing on an off into the early morning. But the front was supposed to move out during the day. So I decided to drive up into the San Juan Mountains to see how the fall colors had progressed in just four days.
The morning started out in Cortez with a beautiful morning rainbow.
From Dolores I drove up to Groundhog Reservoir. Then up toward Black Mesa, where I had enjoyed a day of photographing the early fall colors the week before.
I had been hoping for the rain to pass through and give me a view of the high peaks of the Lizard Head Wilderness with fresh snow on them. Instead, I was surprised to find out that the snow level was down to where I was. Rather, that I had driven up into it.
Fortunately I had recently paid for four new top-of-the-line all-terrain tires. I had been yearning for a chance to try them out on slippery roads, and here it was: fresh wet snow on top of an inch of wet muddy coating on a well graveled road. Nothing too crazy.
I soon realized that If I’d still had the old tires I would have been spinning and sliding in my All Wheel Drive (not 4WD) vehicle. And turning around to go back down out of the snow zone. But with these new, ultra gnarly babies it felt as if I had tire chains on them.
Meanwhile, back in the forest, the younger aspen trees were taking the wet snow pretty hard. Bent way over, some branches snapped off. The kind of early snow storm that would convince the higher aspen stands that it was time to dump their leaves for the winter.
An unexpected benefit of the aspen seedlings groaning under the weight of the snow was that their lovely fall colors were bent down to easy photographing.
As I continued on though the forest, I had the good fortune to not only see a marten scurry across the road just ahead of me, but to pause down in the forest for a decent shot. These small forest mammals with the cat-like faces are considered to be threatened, so it was a rare treat for me to have the sighting.
Afterward I drove back down out of the snow zone, into the West Dolores River canyon.
Photo location: Montezuma and Dolores Counties, Colorado.
© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg