Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. After a week of brilliant gold leaves and deep purple skies highlighted by full-on sunshine, the cloud dropped Sunday night and the mountains were swathed in dark veils of snow. It was actually Nederland’s second measurable snowfall, the first having occurred a couple of weeks ago, plopping about four inches on top of still ripening tomatoes, petunias and pansies struggling to hang on and aspen leaves clinging to their branches, which bent to the ground.
That snow melted rapidly. It was a nudge, a reminder of what time of year it was and to begin the check list: snow tires, firewood, boots, gloves and chimney cleaning.
Sunday’s overnight snow brought about six inches to the Boulder area, cracking still plumply leafed branches onto power poles and causing outages. In the mountains, the trees bent but didn’t break. About eight inches were on the ground Monday morning, but plows hit the streets and dirt roads and highway.
Boulder Canyon was closed much of Monday when myriad motor vehicle accidents clogged the narrows and made it difficult for plows and tow trucks to maneuver through the city cars with bald tires that hit black ice under the slush.
As the snow let up and began to slip off the aspens, they exploded into fluffs of ocher and rust shimmers against the black and white backdrop. A local rancher dropped off hay for his Magnolia Road cattle and people and dogs gathered round the wood stove.
By Tuesday morning, the roads were clear and dry and paths made during the storm melted into the grass that pushed up for one last gasp.
Nederland was packed with people over the weekend, many of them hoping to catch the end, the shedding of the aspen leaves before they all cover the ground instead of the trees.
Restaurants and gift shops brought in crowds of visitors who enjoyed the gold before the storm.
It is supposed to be a warmer, drier week, another opportunity to stave off the oncoming winter.
(Originally published in the October 12, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)