Autumn in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Southern Colorado has such beauty and complexity of scenery – from the low mesas up to the high passes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Spanish Peaks… So much to capture the imagination that it seems crazy to add gorgeous autumn color to the mix! Being recently widowed means spending a great deal of time in solitude. When I need a break from my own mind the drive along the Highway of Legends has become my healing journey. Highway 12 from Trinidad through the mountains west and north was named the Highway of Legends presumably because of the many tales cultivated about the area by Spaniards, Native Americans, miners, pioneers, trappers, etc. – over hundreds of years… The Tarahumare Indians believe the Spanish Peaks are the place where all life first emerged on this earth, and spending time in them I can understand why they believe this…

Views from Cuchara Pass along the Highway of Legends

I took a drive to experience the autumn color along the Highway on October 12… We had an early cold snap and major winds shortly after these photos were taken so many of the leaves were gone within a few days. The wind up at Cuchara Pass has been dramatic each time I have stopped there to enjoy the view. I have enjoyed hundreds of autumn color forays with Shaun over decades, he had a knack for finding the peak days of color! He would have loved seeing the aspen trees in their full glory.

Autumn color around Monument Lake

It’s not only the aspen trees that afford great bursts of color, but scrub oak, cottonwood trees (my favorite), beautiful grasses and even a few lingering wildflowers… not to mention the incredibly blue sky!

As if placed in the sky to enhance the drama of scenery, mountains and color – the clouds offered very exciting lighting. The scene was completely different when I drove the Highway of Legends just ten days later… Still lovely and dramatic but not nearly so colorful.

4 thoughts on “Autumn in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Leave a comment

  1. Gorgeous post and photos, and heartbreaking. I love your expression – “when I need to take a break from my own mind…”

    Sending big hugs!!

  2. Those clouds cannot be overlooked or undervalued. They are temporary, ever-changing shapes and a compliment
    to all below .. maybe even an enhancement. I love them and am glad you have such a refuge. Lola

  3. Thanks so much Amanda, for the lovely journey. I’ve been there a couple times and of course, find the geology fascinating. There are many light colored dikes here, in fact I see one in a picture. They are literally walls radiating out from the center of an old volcano and are visible due to considerable weathering since supplying the volcano with material.
    We are with you–all the way.


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