As the last aspen leaves fall and the evening temperatures begin to drop, it's only a matter of time before the first snow falls over the mountains of Colorado.
At first, it might just be a dusting on distant peaks which melts in the heat of the next afternoon. Eventually, a storm will bring the first snow that will last all winter, and will be the last to melt in May or even June. As the temperatures continue to drop, so does the elevation of the snow line.
Small lakes and ponds begin to freeze over quite quickly, while larger bodies of water and wide, fast flowing creeks will not freeze for a few more days or weeks. A dark lake provides a striking contrast against the surrounding snow.
For wildlife and humans alike, the snow is a visual reminder that another Rocky Mountain winter will be here very soon. Migrating birds and tourists head south, and year-round resident species prepare themselves for a less hospitable (but stunningly beautiful) environment. It will be several months before the landscape is free of snow again, but each season brings new sights and experiences. Some are just less forgiving than others.
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