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Aspen Planning...

Postby jchapell » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:07 am

It's a couple months away, but we are planning a trip in September and certainly wouldn't mind if it overlapped with the aspens turning...I've spent some time looking at spectacular photos from the last few years here and when they were taken. Last year we were there in the 2nd week in October and pretty much missed everything.

Is there conventional wisdom, or any insight into how this year's spring snow/rain might impact the timeframe this year? We are deciding on either the 13th-17th or 20th-24th.

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby sunny1 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:30 am

jchapell wrote:Is there conventional wisdom, or any insight into how this year's spring snow/rain might impact the timeframe this year? We are deciding on either the 13th-17th or 20th-24th.


Experience and unconventional wisdom: :wink:
Your odds of enjoying golden aspens are better 9/20-24. Unless we get early snows - it can knock off the leaves.
9/13-17 is a bit too early, usually.
The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby Tornadoman » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:54 am

I hiked Antero last September 17th. No idea if this year will be similar or not, but figured I'd throw it out there.

http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12903&parmuser=Tornadoman&cpgm=tripuser

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby Mark Curtis » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:24 am

It really depends on where you are going. The aspen turn early around Independence Pass (Elbert, LaPlata, etc.). Typically, as tornadoman's report suggests, the Sawatch Range turns earlier than other ranges in the state.

Generally speaking, the aspen turn earlier in the south. But "turning" is not "peak". Kebler Pass, for example, is a case in that point. There are typically sections of that area turning yellow by the third week in September.....but the lions share of the area doesn't peak until around the 1st of October (the northern slopes of the Sneffels Range is very similar). As sunny1 explained, early heavy snow or very strong winds can strip some leaves.....but quite often the thicker groves can withstand storms (esp. earlier in the turning process). Some prefer the mix of greens and yellows, so it's a very subjective thing anyway.

Finally, the weather and moisture content can certainly play a role. But lately it seems there is just a general decline in aspen foliage......here's an interesting article on that subject:

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/communities/aspen/decline.shtml

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby Mark Curtis » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:27 am

Another idea is to peruse this thread from last year......you can look at the posting dates or examine the EXIF data (if available) to get a sense of where it's turning at what time:

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=37217

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby jchapell » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:48 am

Great info, thanks! I spent (too much) time going through that thread yesterday looking at dates and locations, but I know last year's drought may have altered the timeframe. Your all's information is already super helpful -- thanks!

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby jeffCC » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:03 pm

j,

The Golden Leaf Half Marathon (from Snowmass to Aspen on the Government trail) is on 9/21. The whole point of that run is to be overwhelmed by the Aspens. Pics I've seen of previous years are drool-worthy. But if course it varies year to year and with altitude.

Good luck !

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Re: Aspen Planning...

Postby jchapell » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:27 am

Thanks again - booked the tickets with the Southwest Sale last night - Sept. 20-24. The countdown begins...

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