Is there a more beautiful place to be than Colorado in early fall? A purely rhetorical question, of course. Even though we’d already gotten a nice dumping of the white stuff by this time last year (and I have soggy memories of playing in September golf tournaments in weather better suited for duck hunting), and even though I’m a “summer guy” for the most part, I’ll take my chances with this time of year for pretty much anything … before sundown, that is.

Along with the leaves, high school football games — some amazingly beautiful nights for local gridiron clashes thus far — and pumpkin spice everything, there’s some fun fall stuff on tap, soda speak, around here over the next month or so. I may miss something or somebody, but here’s a little Autumn Almanac (title of a great song by the Kinks, for the “record”) for denizens of the Tri-Lakes region:

Colorado Pumpkin Patch, now through Halloween: Recently recognized one of the Top 20 Pumpkin Patches in the U.S. by, this Monumental mainstay is in its fourth season out on Highway 105 just east of Roller Coaster Road. J.D. “Johnny Pumpkinseed” Chapman, his wife Bengetta and the whole dang family, along with a crew of helpers including Marissa’s daughter Lili, make this a terrific family/group destination. Hay rides, laser tag, “human foosball” (a new one to me), pony rides, straw slide and other amusements. Go to for info.

Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival, Oct. 2 and 3: If you’ve not been to the Western Museum of Mining and Industry down on North Gate Road just east of I-25, here’s a great excuse to check it off the must-see list (it’s truly worth your time, anytime). A big-time fall festival with games, food trucks, petting zoo, blacksmithing exhibitions, apple cider press, machinery demonstrations, hay maze and hayrides, live music (Ashtonz play from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 2, Mosquito Pass 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 3) and more on the site of the old Reynolds Ranch that has been home to the Mining Museum since the late 1970s. Tickets:

Palmer Lake .5k, Oct. 10: Yes, that’s “.5k” (as in 1,600 feet or so, which even I could handle on a Sunday morn), with emergency doughnut station at the halfway point and beer/soda waiting at the finish line. Sprint, trot or shuffle across the bridge to victory with the rest of the winners in this grueling event. Proceeds go to Awake Palmer Lake; info/signup at

Black Forest Backyard Market, Saturdays in October (9 a.m. ‘til 1 p.m.): local businesses of various stripes including farmers, crafters and the uniquely Black Forestian je ne sais quoi … Info:

Miners Pumpkin Patch at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, Saturdays in October (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.): More pumpkin-flavored fun at WMMI, including time-tested fun and games and a pumpkin to call your very own! Info:

Farmers Market in downtown Monument, Saturdays in October: Wrapping up the season with vendors from around the area and beyond … tons of good stuff to be sampled and savored! Market runs from 8 a.m. ‘til 2 p.m.; more info at

Halloween Ash-Bash at the Searle Ranch barn, Oct. 29: An annual tradition of “kickin’ Ash and takin’ names” in non-sacred observance of All Hallows’ Eve. Longhorn burgers (don’t worry; they’re not haunted), live moo-sic from Ashtonz and Fiends (yes, fiends) apple-bob and some extremely scary getups, I’m guessing. Be afraid … be verrrry afraid! Info/tickets:

If all that’s not enough to keep you entertained for the next few weeks, go take a hike (literally!) … see you next month!

Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at

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