Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Aspen Colors From Abajo Peak

Fall colors nearing their peak on the lower slopes of the Abajo Mountains, September 25.
The Abajo Mountains are a small mountain range near Monticello and Blanding in southeast Utah.

It's a small mountain range because in geologic terms it's a laccolith -- a spot in the Earth's crust where magma was forced to the surface without breaking the surface. No lava flow. More like a group of skin blisters that hardened in place.

The tallest peak is Abajo Peak, 11,330 feet in elevation at its summit. It's often called Blue Mountain by the locals, or even "the Mountain". It's public land, on the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

The aspen colors have been nearing their peak in the high country of Utah and Colorado. So on a sunny Sunday morning I drove up to the summit of Abajo Peak for a look around from above.

And in this photograph you can see how much elevation affects vegetation, in this case aspen forests. Notice how the aspen stands (clones, actually) at the upper elevations are at their peak fall color, while the lower slopes are still mostly green, just beginning to turn colors.

Photo location: Abajo Peak, Manti-La Sal National Forest, San Juan County, southeast Utah.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Colors in Colorado

Historic Trout Lake Trestle, near Trout Lake, Colorado.
I was up in the San Juan mountain range in southwest Colorado again. Another high country fall season, another compelling reason to get back up there and experience it again.

For me the autumn colors of the aspen stands are the crowning glory of fall there. But there are many more subtle shades of color down low to the earth. Shrubs, forbs, grasses. Yellows, reds and browns set against the deep greens of the conifer trees.

For this photograph, I had been driving the forest road between Trout Lake and Lizard Head Pass. It pretty much follows the route of the historic railroad that ran there in the late 1800's. So it's an easy drive for any vehicle, since trains can't handle steep grades.

In this photo, I stopped to photograph the Trout Lake Trestle, with the mountain brook tumbling beneath it and one of the first snows of fall on the distant peaks.

Photo location: Uncompahgre National Forest south of Telluride, San Miguel County, Colorado.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg

Monday, September 19, 2016

Harvest Moon Over Cedar Mesa

Rise of the September Harvest Moon over White Mesa in southeast Utah. (Click on image for larger version).
For this month's Full Moon I had set up my tripod at Salvation Knoll on Utah Highway 95, between Blanding and Natural Bridges National Monument.

Salvation Knoll is a high point beneath towering red cliffs along the highway (at 7,110 feet) that affords sweeping views down across Cedar Mesa and even into southwest Colorado and northern Arizona.

The weather was favorable: clear and calm. In fact a bit more than favorable, in that some haze in the air would likely give the rising moon some color. Which it did.

Photo location: San Juan County, southeast Utah.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg

Friday, September 16, 2016

Utah Sunset: Monticello

The town of Monticello in southeast Utah sits at 7,000 feet and at the base of the Abajo Mountains. Small town atmosphere, clean air, and lots of outdoor recreation nearby on millions of acres of public land. Here is a recent sunset series from the edge of town.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg