Wildflowers: amazingly still found in a few places
Autumn Foliage: Not really extreme for this area as maybe 40% of the aspens are still green. Probably won't be a bumper year either with the extended summer immediately overtaken by winter.
Denny and I were excited to see fall color. The forecast was "friggen cold". The forest service still has FS#552 closed so it adds about 3mi each way. Denny spotted a stag a half mile away through the trees along the road on the hike in. Nothing new, his incredible vision just continues to baffle.
When we reached the trailhead there was a top ten item I really dislike... snow. Okay it's only a half inch to an inch so lets go. By the time we reached the waterline road it was 4 to 6 feet deep. Probably inches but what's the difference. Luckily to this point we followed the steps of another guy 45min ahead of us. We turned around at the pumphouse and took the road back. Heading to the open meadow was just too cold and the snow was getting deep. This was later confirmed by the other guy.
The light and temps swayed in and out of favor during the entire trip. There were only moments of sun light through the science experiment brewing in the sky. I found myself removing and adding layers back and forth and it ended up being coldest back at the car on the return. It snowed off and on. Which is no biggie for the locals. For us desert rats it was pretty neat. Most notably where the tiny snowballs. It looked like large hail yet it was light and gentle. After a while it looked like packaging material all over the place.
The game plan was to head over to Bill Williams next. We nixed that ridiculously cold idea and opted for Badger Springs along I-17 on the return home.