It was great having a few weeks off to enjoy the changing of the seasons in the mountains. The aspen trees turned their glorious gold, the oaks and serviceberry turned into ruddish browns, and soon the peaks had dustings of snow. We went on little hikes to scenic Spud Lake and the ghost town of Ironton. A longer overnight hike took us to Blaine Basin at the foot of Mount Sneffels, which had really neat examples of glacial moraines still actively eroding, along with a couple of waterfalls to explore.
You might think that Mt. Sneffels and the surrounding public lands in its shadow was included in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness, but you'd be wrong. The exciting news is that there is pending legislation before congress to be reviewed on November 10th to expand it by 22,000 acres to include the mountain! Please pester your favorite politician to make it happen, since it is an uncontested no-brainer of a designation; the only industry impacted, recreation, has grandfathered exemptions to continue heli-skiing and the hardrock races.
As Aldo Leopold eloquently said, "the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech."
We made one last trip up to The Meadows to visit George before the snows set in. We're glad we did, since the upper elevations were soon socked in with snow. Wolf Creek Pass got over 36" and the ski valley had its earliest open season ever on October 8th. Since I hadn't been skiing since Snoqualmie a few years back (on its latest open day ever, May 25th), we had to check it out. The snow was great, but they only had enough staff to run 3 lifts. Whoa, I needed the practice!
Then it was time to pack up and drive the long, lonely road home.