(Last Updated On: October 7, 2017)
In the last week, I’ve taken time to get out there to enjoy the colorful aspen leaves which are peaking here in Crested Butte. But, I’m not the only one out there enjoying the fall foliage. Plenty of locals and tourists alike are lolly-gagging around in our mountains, soaking in the warm hues. And that got me thinking…
Am I a “leafer”? After all, I’m out there, enjoying the golden aspens in this beautiful season. So, I MUST be a leafer? I’ve taken plenty of pictures to prove it! Are all locals who take pleasure in the myriad of colors that fall brings “leafers” also? What makes a leafer?
But, then I found myself in surprising contemplative thought over this issue. And I realized several differences between leafers and locals. Here’s what I discovered:
1) While driving, leafers stop in the middle of “leafer roads” (any dirt road- including but not limited to Slate, Washington Gulch, Gothic, or Kebler Pass – where leaves are peaking) to snap that important photo that will make them the star photographer for the day. Locals complain about it.
2) While driving, locals stop in the middle of the road on Elk Avenue to chat with their friends whom they just saw the day before. Leafers complain about it.
3) Leafers drive 5-10 mph under the speed limit on “leafer” roads, despite a long line of traffic that trails behind them, indicating that they might be driving slower than necessary for the conditions. Locals drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit on such roads until they hit the long line of slow traffic. Then, they complain about it.
4) Locals drive 2-3 mph under the 15 mph speed limit on Elk Avenue because they are terrified of a screaming 3-yr old spontaneously jumping out in front of their Tacoma. Leafers complain about the slow traffic in the already too slow speed zone.
5) Locals make numerous sacrifices to live in the mountain paradise that becomes a leaf haven for a few weeks. Leafers sacrifice a few hours of mountain driving for a nice weekend vacation.
6) Locals notice the day to day changes in the leaves, and know when the peak is happening and where. Leafers watch Denver news to find out “where to find the best colors NOW!”
7) Locals can enjoy the colors any day of the week. Leafers have to hope the peak happens on a weekend.
8) Locals need leafers to keep the business rolling and the economy flowing as we enter the “off-season”. Leafers need locals to get directions “Keebler” Pass.
So, although I partake in documenting this season’s peaking leaves, it is very clear that I am not a leafer. I don’t stop in the middle of leafer roads, but I do stop in the middle of Elk Ave! I drive excessively fast on leafer roads and excessively slow in town. So, as it turns out, I’m a local after all. And proud of it! 🙂
NOTE: The leaves in the valleys surrounding Crested Butte are slightly past peaking for the most part. This includes Slate, Washington Gulch, and Gothic. However, Kebler Pass is another story. I suspect the peak for Kebler will be in about 4-7 days. So, locals, get out there and enjoy the September colors. And leafers, we love to see you out there too!