Matt Santomarco shows that autumn color isn’t just found in the east.
SOMETHING TERRIFYING HAPPENED when I took a fall drive out of Grand Junction, CO. I left the desert and climbed my way into the mountains, passing Telluride huddled in its bowl surrounded by massive peaks. Turning south, I meandered through a valley of pine forest.
Then, the entire valley lit up into squint-inducing yellow. It was like being in the heart of a forest fire. Crisp golds reached up the mountainsides, like flames licking at the peaks. I disregarded the road, drifting back and forth like a bowling-ball striking the bumpers in the kiddie lane. Nearby drivers might have thought I was drunk, had they stopped see-sawing their own steering wheels long enough to notice.
The most dangerous part was that no one told me it was coming. No signs reading “Caution: Leaves Approaching.” No “tune radio to 1610AM for aspen alert when flashing.” With New England’s fall foliage hype drowning everything else out, I was seriously unprepared for Colorado’s fall color.
This image is your warning: if you’re traveling through Colorado, you WILL turn a corner into a scene like this. Do NOT jam on your brakes. In the calmest way possible, ease safely off the road (far enough off that other rubber-neckers can get past.) Get out, and wonder just how you’ve never heard of this before.
About this author:
Eric Warren has an unhealthy love of all types of transportation, and is addicted to long stretches of open road.