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Morning photo: Insta-fall!

Can ya feel it?

FRISCO — Right on time, Mother Nature is changing wardrobe, from the bright greens of summer to the even more dazzling array of golds, reds and yellows that mark the transition of seasons in the High Country. Even the light takes on a different quality as the sun’s rays have to make it through a thicker slice of the Earth’s atmosphere. This year’s aspen show looks to peak around late September and early October, but some areas are already changing fast in the high country. Don’t miss the show! Continue reading

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Morning photo: Treeline!

‘Shroom hunting in Colorado

Evening vista in Mayflower Gulch, Summit County, Colorado.

Evening vista of the Tenmile Range, Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO — Aug. 31 is a bit late for the peak of the mushroom season in Colorado, but after a stream of rainy days, we headed up high, near treeline, to search for fungi. In some of the moist, north-facing draws along the rough road into the Tenmile Range, we found a profusion of mushrooms, as many as 10 species in a square meter, including funky corals, puffballs and tasty wild agaricus, an edible variety closely related to grocery store mushrooms.

Seeing the mushrooms at peak season, bursting through a living tapestry of moss and lichen, makes me realize how big a part of the forest life force these humble fungi really are, locking carbon deep in the soil and helping the trees, old and young, absorb nutrients from the thin Rocky Mountain soil. Continue reading

Morning photo: Mountain glow

Peak light

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An eclipese-tinged glow over the Rockies, photographed from Loveland Pass, Colorado.

FRISCO — There are times when the light in the mountains totally blows my mind, and when it’s easy to understand why mountains have long been considered sacred, and even dwelling places of the gods. It seems, sometimes, that if one could only gaze upon the peaks long enough, all the mysteries of the universe would be revealed. So there are times that, after taking a few photos, I set down the camera, hoping to gain a little more insight into this great wonderful world of ours. Continue reading

Morning photo: Trough Road

Colorado River country

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River crossing.

FRISCO — A super-early start to the day turned into a photography paced drive back to Summit County via the Trough Road after our morning flight from the Eagle airport was canceled due to weather. Conservation Colorado had invited me to join them on overflight of the White River National Forest to check out, from above, some of the areas under consideration for wilderness designation in a bill pending before Congress. Instead, I headed north from Wolcott to historic State Bridge, then mostly east along the Trough Road, with incredible views of the Upper Colorado River Valley. Murky skies and low-hanging clouds prevailed, but the road, one of Colorado’s scenic byways, is always inviting. Continue reading

Morning photo: ‘Shroom hunting!

Prime time for Colorado fungi

Colorado mushrooms

Clavaria purpurea, purple coral mushroom growing in the Tenmile Range near Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — For a couple of weeks every summer I need to set aside extra time every few days to search for wild mushrooms. It’s not just the eating — I’m totally fascinated by the role fungi have in forest ecosystems, with some recent studies suggesting that they may be the key drivers of the forest carbon carbon cycle because of how they interact with plants to sequester carbon deep in forest soils. This morning, during a short walk in the Tenmile Range, I found one decaying section of a log, about two square feet, home to at least six species of fungi (that I could see), along with many more types of moss and lichen, all woven into a living, organic mat on the forest floor. And, as icing on the cake, I did find a couple of Boletus edulis, delicious edibles sought after around the world under various names, including porcini and cep. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Oh, Colorado!

wetlands sunrise Colorado

Wetlands sunrise, Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — Our Sunday set is a grab-bag of shots from the last 10 days or so, starting with another spectacular sunrise scene at the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco. And since we’ve been on the road reporting for the crowfunded Climate Rangers environmental journalism project, we’re also featuring a few images from outside Summit County. Continue reading

Morning Photo: San Juan wildflowers

The alpine tundra comes alive!

Colorado wildflowers

Wildflowers flourishing in the alpine tundra near Red Mountain Pass.

FRISCO — A short midweek roadtrip to the San Juans as part of the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger reporting project yielded some fine images from Colorado’s rugged southwestern mountains — along with in-depth information about how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains. Shooting with three different cameras (the top image is an iPhone shot) may seem like a hassle (and it can be at times), but it enabled me to get a good variety of perspectives. The next couple of images were taken with an older Canon and a zoom lens that helped compress the vast fields of flowers, intensifying the color and adding some interesting depth-of-field effects. Continue reading

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