Fallin for the foliage | PostIndependent.com
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Fallin for the foliage

Post Independent / Kelley CoxAutumn's golden hues surround this abandoned barn up Four Mile Creek on a sunny fall morning. This year's fall colors season is expected to last longer than most due to the solid snowpack and recent cool weather.
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As if Mother Nature didnt do enough for the valley last winter with all that fresh powder and in the spring with gnarly rapids, this fall she will keep on giving.Autumn leaves should turn from shades of green to brilliant yellow, red and orange hues for a longer duration, said Cathy Carlisle-McMullen, visitor information specialist for the U.S. Forest Service office in Carbondale.Really, I think were going to have a later peak season and, because of our snowfall last winter and because our watershed levels were higher than normal and with all that moisture, the greenery should stay green longer, Carlisle-McMullen said. Therefore, we should have a slower turn around of color. Unless we receive a harsh breeze or large snowstorm, we should be looking at late September and early October for peak season.According to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, moisture in the fall keeps leaves bright and colorful longer. Dryer conditions cause leaf color to fade to brown and drop faster. Also, cooler temperatures, like the valley has seen in the last few weeks, supports a longer period of color change.Its just going to be a slower process, Carlisle-McMullen said. Its going to take longer to get that photosynthesis process going.Carolyn Barron, office and visitor service manager for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said she has already noticed a few spots in the valley with turning leaves.Head west to South Canyon and the whole mountain range is turning colors, Barron said. Also, in the Redstone area over McClure Pass, you can see the colors changing and on top of Iron Mountain where the tram goes.Barron predicts a stellar leaf-turning season this year, and not just because she works for the Chamber. She enjoys leaf watching in her free time.I think theyre going to be really pretty this year, she said. And the cool weather should really bring out the color.Carlisle-McMullen said she has also seen some photo-worthy foliage in the Roaring Fork and Crystal River valleys, recommending several scenic areas not to miss.After traveling over Independence Pass, I spotted several groves of aspens turning, she said. Maroon Lake over to Willow Lake in Aspen is a great hike, as well as the Carbonate Creek Trail in Marble that goes over Avalanche Pass. Thats a seven-mile round trip hike thats awesome during peak season. Also, the Reudi Trail is eight miles one-way that affords the hiker a spectacular view of the leaves turning in the Frying Pan Valley. Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com


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