NEXT SUNDAY IS THE OFFICIAL "COLOR SUNDAY" ON GRAND MESA IN DELTA COUNTY, COLORADO. Fall is in the air and the aspen leaves have begun their dramatic change to the shimmering gold of autumn. The oak brush is beginning to blush crimson. The apples are ready and you can enjoy all of these next weekend.
Actually, the beautiful drive begins by turning off Interstate 70 about 15 miles east of Palisade and take the Grand Mesa Scenic ByWay (State Highway 65) through the town of Mesa and then up and over the Grand Mesa and into our wonderful Cedaredge. By taking Highway 65 on down to Highway 92 then go west into Delta, then back north to Grand Junction you can make a loop.
"Color Sunday" was started here on the Western Slope several years ago to encourage everyone to get up on Grand Mesa and enjoy the incredible golden aspen leaves as they begin the journey into winter. Have you ever wondered why you see a whole clump of aspen trees turning yellow and then right next to one bunch you see a cluster still green? Apsens, members of the Poplar family, grow from a single seed and develop into a "colony" from sucker coming up from the single seedling. That whole colony will turn in the fall at pretty much the same time. So you have an array of different color displays depending on which colony the trees belong to.
Here in Delta County, Colorado, we refer to the aspens as "Quakies", shortened from the term "quaking aspens". This comes from the stems and leaves twisting and bending in the breeze. Especially beautiful is sitting in the aspens when the golden and red leaves begin to fall from the trees. It is a sight that should be experienced for yourself - words can't really describe the peacefulness of it.
So play your weekend now, pack a picnic lunch and get away for a few hours. You will be SO glad you did