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My Favorite Mountains on the Way South

Southwest of Monte Vista CO, national forest, over 9000 feet. The aspen were at their peak blaze. I enjoyed it for -- forgive me -- a few seconds, and then looked for more interesting things to think about. After slamming one of the holiest cliches of the tourism industry, I should propose an alternative. I'll do so shortly.

Seriously, why do people waste time and money to go to look at yellow aspens? Sure, bright yellow is a fun color, but you could stay at home, close your eyes, and imagine the color yellow. It would be just as vivid.

If your imagination needs help you could buy a blue-ray DVD travelogue put out by National Geographic, say, "America's Top Ten Fall Color Road Tours." Don't underestimate how good the modern big screen televisions have become. If you are still not satisfied because your retinas haven't yet registered all that they are physiologically capable of, then go to menu-setup and blast the contrast or saturation on the television screen.

I camped up there one night. It stayed warmer than expected. Forests serve a valuable purpose in May and June when they shield a camper from the lethal southwestern sun. But at the September equinox, forests are just a depressing nuisance, as they rob you of daylight at the beginning and end of day.

All the bitching and moaning up there was worth it, just so I could experience the relief of seeing the land open up on the drive back down to the San Luis valley (Alamosa, CO). I turned towards the sun, driving south on US285, and soon crossed the New Mexico border.

There are a couple mountains in this area that have always impressed me. They are symmetric volcanic swellings; they look so noble the way they lord over the surrounding sagebrush flats. They almost look too gentle to have ever erupted. But from the volcanic rocks in the area, lava at least crept out of these mountains.

I eagerly look forward to seeing them every time I pass through the upper Rio Grande. The world seems so glorious and bright and BIG (!) when the sun rises and sets on the real horizon, instead of 30 degrees up in the air.


Unknown said…
Experience requires full sensory input and you can't get that from big screen.
Desert Diva said…
C'mon now Boonie - some people do love the aspens. I not only like the color, but the sound of the music as they shimmer in the wind. It's like musical gold.

Take care on the road...
Maria, I agree with your "full sensory input" point. But people never talk about that. They just scream about the color! Why don't they buy a box of crayons, pick out the yellow one, and color an entire sheet of white paper yellow? And spare themselves the $4 gasoline?

Desert Dive, based on your comment I edited the post and added emphasis.

Jim and Gayle said…
"The world seems so glorious and bright and BIG (!) when the sun rises and sets on the real horizon, instead of 30 degrees up in the air."

Couldn't agree with you more. That is exactly how we feel being back in NM.
At risk of being denigrated, we must admit to driving into the Sangre de Cristo mountains this morning to take a hike among the golden aspens. Give us a break, though, it was our first time, and we were so close we just couldn't resist.

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