A boomer’s best season of the year

With BoomerCafé going live after three months off, we thought we’d kick off our debut with a celebration by BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs, with lovely pictures celebrating the season just ended, Fall.

Growing up on the West Coast, I never saw Fall colors. But 35 years ago, via a circuitous route, I landed in Colorado and now, every year, soaking in the matchless marvels of Mother Nature is like a command performance.

Marvels like this.

Late September was the peak of Fall colors. I soaked them in along the Roaring Fork River, which cascades from the top of Colorado’s Independence Pass— at 12,000+ feet it’s part of the Continental Divide— through the ski resort of Aspen, emptying out in the Colorado River about 50 miles downstream.

Some family and I biked those 50 miles— 50 in each direction— with dinner in Aspen and a night’s sleep in-between. You could drain your IRA after an overnight in Aspen but it’s worth every ache and pain your legs (and your seat) endure.

Fall colors don’t last long. As days grow shorter and temperatures drop lower, certain kinds of trees— deciduous trees— produce less chlorophyll, so their pigments change, and only a couple of weeks later, their leaves fall to the ground. But for two vivid weeks, this is nature’s wonderland.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll also happen upon other sights along the way. Like goats at work.

Someone joked when we saw this sign that after we turned a corner, there’d be a line of goats working in cubicles on computers. But no, these goats— written up in mid-September in The New York Times— are working in brush, contained by a temporary electric fence, reducing the fuels on which wildfires feed.

As The Times described it, “Goats are browsers that eat the grass, leaves and tall brush that cows and other grazers can’t reach. After the goats digest the brush, their waste returns organic matter to the soil, increasing its potential to hold water.”

At least when they’re not on strike.

Another sight is the wastewater treatment plant just north of Aspen. Normally wastewater treatment plants don’t make the cut in picturesque pieces about Fall colors. This one’s different. In a valley like this, there’s just no ugly place to treat wastewater.

One of the stirring sights along the route is Mount Sopris. It is far from the tallest peak in the state— Colorado has 58 “fourteeners,” nearly 600 “thirteeners,” and about 750 summits above the 12,000 foot mark— but what’s distinctive about Sopris is, its twin peaks (at 12,965 feet above sea level) rise more than a mile above the valley floor (at 6,181 feet).

All told, we don’t have the oaks and ash, maples and hickories you’ll see in the Fall splendor of New England, the Ozarks, and the Catskills.

But we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got. Usually I write pieces about politics and foreign affairs for Substack, but as I cruised this Fall corridor, I could forget for a day about all that.

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