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    Posted September 23, 2014 by
    Broomfield, Colorado
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Natural wonders in the 50 states

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    The Aspens of Colorado

    Each year the aspen tree cycle repeats itself in the Colorado mountains and brings continuous beauty to our country. Many routes that lead into the mountains offer opportunities to view majestic panoramas of aspens along with other varieties of trees.

    The golden shades of the aspens leaves can be found throughout the Colorado mountain ranges in the fall. Starting in late September, some of the most popular areas to explore are in the mountains above the Denver metro area located in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Nature enthusiasts will find golden aspens located at the elevations between 8,000 to 10,000 feet. One of the most beautiful aspen sightings can be seen from the Trail Ridge Road which is open for the 2014 season. The gravel Fall River Road is currently closed from the September 2013 floods, but will provide aspen scenery in the future after repairs are completed. Check with the National Forest Service to find out more information about when this road will reopen. (www.nps.gov) October to mid-November brings the superb colors down to the foothills including the areas around Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Although the aspens are always a beautiful sight, they especially stand out against the brilliant blue colorful skies of Colorado.

    Aspen trees are typically found in areas of high altitude regions where the weather is cold in winter and cool in the summer. They typically grow from one seedling and then spread in clumps around the parent tree. They require a substantial amount of sunshine to continue their growth. The aspens bark is smooth and white with black marks where the lower branches have fallen away. The semi-heart shaped leaves provide a dramatic shimmering effect even in the slightest breeze.

    Although we often think of the first frost being the cause of the aspen leaves turning into their glorious yellows and occasional reds, there is more to the process. Leaves depend on light, temperature and moisture. Chlorophyll gives the leaves the green color that we see during the spring and summer. As the day light hours diminish around the time of the autumn equinox, chlorophyll begins to disappear and the leaves begin the process of changing colors. During this season, the leaves will break away from the branches and eventually get swept away by the wind.

    Nature’s beauty is always a sight to behold. The United States has numerous places for us to enjoy nature. The mountains in Colorado are among the best.

    Photo Credit: Jack Roth

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