Fall Mountain Mornings

Summer flashed by this year like no other previous year. Fall has arrived in the Upper Arkansas River Valley and that means chilly mornings are more frequent. At 8000 feet summer ends too early for someone used to Texas’ seasonal warmth ending in October.

Fall also brings an uptick in rain showers making beautiful cloud patterns. The way the valley topography traps air pockets allows a variety of temperature zones to form. The cigar like clouds form at a middle altitude along the mountain slopes facing into the valley. The shapes are always different. Here are some examples.

This particular September morning on my drive to Salida a picturesque series of fog views flooded The valley.

The pictures don’t do the views justice. Open each one for a full screen view to barely come close to the real beauty I saw that morning.


Two days of rains cooled the region and in the morning hours the warmer moist air sank to the valley floor. The warmer air sank and intermingled with the cooler air at the valley’s lowest points. For many miles between Buena Vista and the bottom end of Browns Canyon National Monument the fog formed what looked like a lake. I was late to work because of the several times I stopped to snap a photo.

One can’t blame me for taking such a risk with views like these. I missed the best shot though because I was already too far behind schedule.

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