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Fast Fall

October 2, 2012

Here in the mountains, every season seems to fly by.  Fall is by far the fastest, and this year the temperatures went from toasty to chilly overnight and have continued cooling ever since.

Unlike the rest of the country, we don’t get a myriad of colors as the leaves change in fall.  Instead, we get a blaze of gold as the aspens (our only trees aside from pines) change for a few weeks of glory.  Swaths of gold in the middle of green mountainsides make for a dramatic look, and the couple of weeks that the aspens are at their peak is my favorite time of year to hike.

This year I was afraid I’d miss peak aspen season between my trip to the beach and my upcoming trip to Greece (I know, my life is really hard), so I was thrilled to get in a beautiful hike last weekend.

I made plans to hike Saturday morning with a couple of friends and their awesome dog.  We chose a trail in Edwards that I knew was saturated with aspen trees and hoped for amazing scenery.  We were not disappointed.  We spent three hours on a trail so beautiful that I literally kept stopping to look around.

If you are looking for an invigorating hike in Edwards, this one is fun, beautiful and easy to access. The A-10 trail, also known as the Water Tower Trail (at least by the first person to take me there) can be accessed from the top of the Homestead neighborhood in Edwards or from Arrowhead Mountain.  We hiked from Edwards and went mid-way to the end of the trail.  The entire loop is popular with mountain bikers but would make for a loooong hike.

Playing “Queen of the Mountain” at the first overlook.

From the Homestead side, the first quarter-mile of the hike is steep, exposed and rutted.  Some would probably describe it as “punishing” and I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot summer day, but on a beautiful fall day like we had it is well worth the work.  After a steep ascent, the trail levels out and meanders through aspens before coming out on a ridge line that offers gorgeous views to Arrowhead, the New York Mountain Range and down over Edwards.

The aspens were already starting to lose their leaves, and the trail was littered with yellow the whole way.  Between crunching leaves underfoot and a cool breeze along the ridge line, it totally felt like fall on our hike.  As much as I love my mountain summers, I’m finally getting ready to say goodbye to the warm weather and get ready for (gulp) winter and ski season.

If this has to be my only aspen hike of the season, it was a great one!  I’m in packing and preparation mode to depart for my big trip to Turkey and Greece on Thursday morning.  I’ll be back in a few days with updates from Istanbul!


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