V 3.6.1   October   20,   2010
Aspen leaf still glowing as winter comes near.   Photo: Courtesy USFS Coconino - Brienne McGee VPC
AspenCade... Southwest's Other Claim to Autumnal Color.

Snow on the mountain as aspens fire up the hills one last time.
Photo: Courtesy USFS Coconino - Brienne McGee VPC

O nly writers from New York, stuck in some darkly light cubicle, would dare suggest that the only fall color in our neck of the woods is in the mountains of Southern New Mexico. Sure, the aspens that light up the forests from Mexico to Canada along the Rocky Mountain ridges, are some of the most breathtaking...; but, they would have missed the real, downhome beauty of our Rio Grande Valley and the Cottonwoods and Salt Cedar and Pecans that glow brightly as well.

Still, you can't escape the captivation of the crisp mountain air, pines and aspens poping up like Roman Candles in a sea of pine green. And, aren't we all the better for it. Southern New Mexico is not Vermont... but, we still have our pride... and aspens... and cottonwoods...
Lincoln National Forest near Kar Road.
Photo: Courtesy USFS Linda Cole/Lincoln National Forest

Of course, the Gila National Forest has peaks up in the 12,000 range but you have to hike a great distance to see the aspen there. Even if you just climp to Hummingbird Saddle and scan the forests and Mogollon Peak from there... it is still a good half-day hike.

Great sightings of aspens are in the Cloudcroft area first because of the elevation at nearly 9,000 ft. There along the Sunspot Road and also Kar Road the aspen will be blooming earlier than in Ruidoso or High Rolls. But, because of the higher than usual temperatures and moisture in the air... keeps the biochemical processes from stripping the aspen leaves of thier chlorophil... the aspen turn will be later this year.



Prepared by WestsideReader staff.

(Photos: Brax - Valley Publishing Company)

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Photos: Brax - VPC

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