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A Tale of Two Hikes

October 18, 2013

I hiked the same trail two times, two weeks apart, with two different friends.  Apparently in the same shirt.  This time of year, those two weeks made a huge difference in the scenery, with the leaves changing dramatically from one hike to the next.

Aspens week 1

Aspens week 2

I hiked a fall favorite of mine, the A-10 trail in Edwards, also known as the Water Tower Trail.  I actually wrote the very about this hike in my very first blog post almost exactly a year ago.  A-10 winds through aspens for hours, making it the ideal trail for this time of year.

On my first of these two hikes, I went up with a friend early one morning, on a day that threatened rail later in the forecast.  Even though I’ve hiked this trail quite a few times, I never had in the morning and enjoyed seeing it in a new light, literally.

A 10 view

I’d thought that this particular aspen grove would be more golden than it was at the time, but it was still beautiful.  I must have spent most of the trek up waking up, because I hardly snapped any photos until we reached our destination and had a little “queen of the mountain” photo shoot.

Queen of the Mountain part 1

This trail makes a long loop that will eventually come out in Arrowhead ski area to the east, but for shorter hikes this overlook about an hour up is typically my turn-around point.  And yes, I always play queen of the mountain before heading down.

Fall Leaves on A10

The multicolored leaves underfoot were gorgeous on the way down.

A 10 Trail Edwards

The sky was a little brighter by the time we passed through the lower of two meadows on the descent, but it turned out that was as bright as it got all day.

A Tale of Two Hikes

A 10 hike Edwards

It was a lovely hike, but two weeks later under a blue sky with the leaves at their golden peak, hike #2 blew the first away.

A tale of two hikes

The autumn colors contrasted beautifully with the fresh snow on Vail’s Game Creek Bowl in the distance.

A 10 Trail Edwards

It had snowed about 6 inches the day prior, which made the trail ridiculously muddy but the views even more spectacular.

A 10 Trail Edwards Snow

We made our way more slowly along the trail this time, mostly because the footing was treacherous but also because I must have stopped every 30 seconds to exclaim over the beauty and/or snap a photo.

Aspens on A 10

Seriously, my friend Megan is a gem for not back-handing me the 100th time I felt the need to point out that it was, “Such a beautiful day!”  Talk about obvious observations…

Aspens after fire

This area must have suffered a small fire somewhat recently.  The contrast of the charred, leaf-less aspen trunks with the vibrantly colored younger growth was stunning.  The fire (lightning strike?) must have burned out quickly, because we were back in stands of healthy trees in no time.

Aspens on A 10 Edwards

A 10 Watertower Trail Edwards

The snow was pretty deep as we climbed higher, and I was glad that we weren’t the first set of boots up the trail that day.

View from A 10 Trail Edwards

From my turn-around overlook, our view was a patchwork of golds, greens and oranges punctuated by the white snow.  That’s Arrowhead ski area in the foreground and Vail’s Game Creek Bowl that you can see in the distance.  Kind of gets you excited for ski season, doesn’t it?

A 10 Overlook

Only having passed one other group of hikers at the very bottom of the trail, we were surprised when another group came upon us at the overlook point.  It turned out to be great timing for a photo-op, though!

A-10 is definitely one of my favorite fall hikes for a reason, and by my second jaunt up in two weeks it was really showing off.  However, both hikes were pretty darn spectacular.  What do you prefer – moody morning light, or a technicolor blue-sky day?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2013 1:01 pm

    I like the “technicolor blue-sky day!”

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  1. My “Peaks” of 2013 – Year in Review | Peaks and Passports

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