Grand County Trails: Reach paradise with an hour-long bike ride
Grand County Trails
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The 23rd Annual National Public Lands Day will be held Sept. 30. It’s the largest volunteer day across the country to give back to the trails you love.
Ah, the blazing glory of Aspen golds and even reds! Where else can you see that spectacle in greater splendor than in our own Grand County. The mountains are alive with color. On the Princess ride Wednesday evening, four of us rode from the Murdoch’s parking lot in Fraser up County Road 72 past the Fraser Cemetery to the Elk Meadow parking lot and out Elk Meadow trail. The trees we gorgeous! We passed from dirt roads to single track, through open meadows, thick dark forest, cleared areas with acres of sapling Aspen trees as we climbed and climbed and circled around the mountain contour lines. We worked our way over the drainages and came down Sunken Bridges as the sun set and the sky was alive with color. A bull, moose, cow and calf were in the willows below the bridges area contentedly munching away on the succulent roots and branches. They lifted their heads as we rode by then dove back to resume their meal of willow branches. Farther down the trail, a young deer sprang from the shadows, crossed in front of us and disappeared just as quickly into the bushes as it had appeared. The fading light glistened off the mountain peaks across the valley as we descended and you just had to stop to take in the colors, the sounds and the silence. Paradise? And all in a 1 ½ hour bike ride from the center of town…
Winter Park and Fraser trail systems are a Mecca for both hiking and biking all summer long but our area comes into its glory when the deciduous Aspen trees begin to shed their leaves warning of the coming of winter. Wildlife fattens up on food and puts away food supplies, some preparing for hibernation. Bears come down to the berry patches and signs of fall hunting season begin as the black powder and bow hunters begin to stalk the backcountry. Bright colors on hikers and bikers alike become the safety thought for the day and don’t forget a bright colored scarf for your dog! You might want to feel safer and hike or bike in protected areas like the YMCA or Granby Ranch where hunting is prohibited.
The last month of dry spell has brought the changing colors early so be sure to plan the next week to go out and walk your favorite trail, ride to work, meander beside a stream or lake but get outside. And linger in the trees, take pictures, sit a spell and breathe in the air that doesn’t seem too smoky anymore. Share the experience with your friends or go it alone. This is one of the spectacular times of year we live here for and nature is parading her stuff. Get outside and enjoy all she has to offer.
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