October 18, 2010

Late fall in the Wasatch

A picture that only a small child could paint, so full of color, yet with no attention to order, reds, yellows, oranges, in contrast and combination. These are colors of autumn alive in the mountains. These are the colors of the Wasatch Range in fall

The drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon takes us from the city streets of Salt Lake City through the steep narrow canyon to the top of Alta ski area. The colors change as we ascend, from crimson maples to golden aspens. Driving past, we stop to admire the detail of each shimmering leaf as it rustles in the cool autumn breeze. Colors that from afar merge into a spectacular contoured carpet. As night falls the alpine cold sets in and we find shelter off the main roads among the slopes that in mere weeks will be covered by snow.

The crisp autumn chill rouses us from our sleep, but as the sun slowly rises and warms, the colors once again come to life. We descend from our lofty perch near the main ridge of the Wasatch, once again past the quaking aspens, and further down the valley into the warmth of the morning sun. For the next few hours we frolick in the magical ambiance of fall, climbing on rocks and a with short hike under vermillion-leaved maples.