An overcast afternoon didn’t stop visitors from going to the Maroon Bells Tuesday. Many were hiking and taking pictures, but a small assembly of photographers were present waiting for the right light to capture Aspen’s changing leaves.
“It’s places like this that got me started taking pictures,” said Matthew Newhouse of Parachute. “That made me want to make sure I had a phone with a good camera. How could I come to these places and not want to have a picture of what you’re looking at. It’s just too beautiful.”
Matthew was there with his wife Sandra, and he’s since upgraded from a camera phone, to a bigger, more professional camera. Another so-called “leaf-peeper”, Thomas Ellis, was also stationed along the banks of Maroon Lake.
“It’s really spectacular now — the colors,” he said. “I want to come back tomorrow and try it again. I hope to get there a little bit earlier and find me a better spot.”
Ellis showed up in the morning to try to get a prime location, but parking was completely full. Peggy Jo Trish, with the White River National Forest, said it’s a been a busier year than usual.
“I think more people are getting out into the forest as a whole,” she said. “Especially with the anniversary of the national parks. I think a lot of people are traveling more and getting to see these kinds of places. It seems we’re getting a different type of visitor and a lot more of them.”
The weather wasn’t cooperating with Ellis, a former television news technician.
“What I think I’ll do later is go around and get as close as I can to the aspens and actually get inside the aspens,” he said. “That way you’re surrounded by all the aspens. That way you have all this color. That’s the best shot for a day like today.”
All of that color allows Peggy to have a little bit of fun with her coworkers. There is a pool going trying to figure out when the leaves will peak, or reach full color.
The leaves usually peak in the third or fourth week of September. That window is what draws people like Thomas Ellis. He is on his fourth trip to Colorado. He’s making his way around the state to take pictures of the foliage over the next two weeks.