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Mud Season - Spring in Colorado

In the mountains of Colorado, above 9,000' elevation, Winter lingers into May. The snowpack on the ground melts into the soil underneath, creating a landscape of soggy, still brown grass, and mud. The greening of Spring, trees leafing out - does not happen until the middle of May. What passes for Spring color is the dull grey Crocus flower poking through the soggy ground - not a flower to photograph. So I wait for the end of a Colorado Spring - the third week of June - for all the trees to leaf out and the first colorful wildflowers to appear.. Then I start photographing the still snow-capped peaks with the color of wildflowers in the foreground. Some of the flowers like Rocky Mountain Columbine, bud during the first week of July. Spring in Colorado is just 2 weeks in June. Summer is just 8 weeks - July and August. The mountains of Colorado really have just 3 seasons - Winter, Summer, and Fall. "Spring" is just the beginning of Summer. The high altitude precludes the Spring found at lower elevations. A real, less- abbreviated Spring does happen in Colorado - at lower elevations in the cities of Denver, Boulder, the Plains, and the deserts near Grand Junction. In late April and May I come down to photograph the Flatirons in Boulder and the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs - with yellow and blue Lupine as my foreground. Back to the mountains, there is only melting snow and brown grass, Spring has not sprung. In Colorado, elevation is everything.

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