Kassondra Cloos

Kassondra Cloos

Associate Editor of SNEWS / Freelance writer & editor / Co-founder of Adventures in Wikipedia / Boulder, Colorado

Autumn, aspens and gold diggers

Autumn, aspens and gold diggers

I am almost positive Kate will protest this picture. But I don't care. She is hugging fall, and fall is great. Photo by Kassondra Cloos

I am almost positive Kate will protest this picture. But I don't care. She is hugging fall, and fall is great. Photo by Kassondra Cloos

Fall is my favorite season. I grew up in New England, where the sun shines through deep red and bright orange leaves on crisp, sweater-weather days. It's practically against the law to go the whole season without apple picking, hayrides, pumpkin patches and homemade apple pie.

It was about this time last year that I packed up my little orange mangomobile and drove off into the sunset toward new adventures in Colorado. I don't think it was quite fall in Harrisonburg, Virginia, yet, but autumn was in full swing throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota as I drove northwest around Kansas and Missouri. When I made it to Colorado Springs a week later, it practically looked like winter had hit here already, and it snowed just a couple of days later.

I've been skeptical about the solid gold fall Colorado's aspens bring, but I am here to tell you it does not disappoint. Kate and I ventured out to Cripple Creek this morning to frolic around in the yellow forest, and we found a bit more gold than we expected.

On our way back up the trail, a worker from the actual gold mine around the corner stopped us and we had to wait while they set off a bunch of explosions at the mine. "I found the hikers!" he radioed when he saw us. Turns out they have to check for leafpeepers like us whenever they want to blast, and account for all the people belonging to the cars in the area. We were a little surprised that we had stumbled into the blast zone for a gold mine, but we were also quite happy to have been found and not turned into dust. 

But seriously... stumbling into the blast zone of a real gold mine while going aspen gold hunting, and then being late for things because you have to wait for stuff to be blown up so you're safe? I really can't think of anything more wild western than that.

We pulled over a lot to stare at particularly lovely aspen patches and breathe fall air, and to get out and literally run to the trees. Photo by Kassondra Cloos

We pulled over a lot to stare at particularly lovely aspen patches and breathe fall air, and to get out and literally run to the trees. Photo by Kassondra Cloos

Sudden sand dune sunset

Sudden sand dune sunset

Up, up and away

Up, up and away