Once upon a time there was an enormous volcano here, whose top blew off many millenia ago, leaving numerous peaks that are now known collectively as the San Francisco Peaks. Lockett Meadow sits in the inner basin of those peaks. Over the two years I've lived here, many people have told me about this area and that I should go see it, so today, that's what I did. One of my reasons for coming was to observe the beginning of the autumn leaf changing. Here, the aspen groves glow in vivid gold against the dark pine greens. Even though they've just begun to change, it is spectacular already.
After traversing a narrow and rough dirt/rock road, one comes upon the meadow just past this pond. It was sprinkling lightly when I arrived and I sat and watched the pattern of drops on the water for quite some time.
A small hike into the woods led past the reddened trunks of grand Ponderosa Pines and beautifully white trunks of aspen trees. Here I stopped to observe a chicaree squirrel dropping pinecones from the Pinon Pines. Upon observing me, he sounded an ongoing warning call that was loud and echoed through the trees. Like bagpipes, he had two sounds, an ongoing loud chatter and a softer droning sound that went on simultaneously! For a tiny squirrel, he made an enormous amount of noise!
Standing under the aspens, the dappled yellow green light seems to glow.
Underfoot, the first of the season's fallen leaves create works of art where they fall.
Looking down reveals changes in the small plant life too. I love these brilliant red leaves among the green!
Back out in the meadow, there are wildflowers to enjoy, such as these lovely wild asters.
And now, one last look at the hillsides of aspen before heading home!