Maple Variation

When most people think of New Mexico, especially those who are not overly familiar with it, they think of deserts and cactus. They think of the typical “western” or “old west” scene, and picture the tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town. Those places certainly exist, but so do a lot of other amazing wonders. New Mexico has a rich and varied landscape, from the typical western scene to mountains, and even to true forests. One of these forests grows in the Manzano Mountains, which are a bit outside of Albuquerque. In this forest is a canyon known as Fourth of July Canyon. It picked up its name not from the date, but rather the explosion of colors that happens every fall.

Fourth of July Canyon is home to the largest stand of bigtooth maple in the entire state. When fall comes, the maples change from their summer greens to intense, fiery red, and of course, every color in between. I was struck by this particular location since it had the green, pinks, and reds all in one place: a true variation in maple, if I have ever seen one. I could not help but make this photograph.

The color display doesn’t last too long, though. As the fall progresses the leaves drop off the trees leaving the forest bare, ready to start anew next spring. It always does, and the cycle of color continues.

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