SPEARFISH — Spearfish Canyon in late September and early October is a sight to behold. Its aspens and birch trees are in full golden splendor and people from miles around travel to the scenic byway to take in the colors.

For the past 20 years, Canyon enthusiast Jerry Boyer has tracked the changes of colors. Following fall 2019, Boyer retired from those duties, so the Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce sought a new leaf watcher.

Enter Kimberly Talcott.

“I have always enjoyed watching the leaves change,” Talcott said. “I am very much a fall and a winter person. That is one of the great things about where we live is we get to experience that beauty when the leaves change.”

She followed Boyer’s tracking, and when she heard the chamber was seeking someone to carry on the tradition, she put her name in the hat.

She was selected.

“It combines my love of nature and the environment,” Talcott  said. “And it also combines a little data and research, and meteorology.  Combining a lot of those aspects is something I’m passionate about doing.”

She released her first report Wednesday.

“As you drive into Spearfish Canyon you will notice several bright yellow birch and aspen trees nearing 100 percent color change. Don’t lose heart! Many trees are just starting to transform into their fall colors. Now is a great time to witness the beginning of the change of seasons in Spearfish Canyon,” she wrote in her report.  

She said that the color change is about 35% - low to moderate.

Talcott said she will release a report on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next several weeks depending on weather at the end of the month.

So what does she like about this time of year?

“I love the temperature especially after we’ve had such a hot summer,” Talcott said. “I’m loving the cooler nights. … There’s a deeper meaning to it – a time of transition, and a time of quieting. Also, what a new season can reveal.”

And what draws her to Spearfish Canyon?

“I really love the contrast between the conifers – the green pine and spruce – against the beautiful aspens that are coming out with golden leaves. That contrast is so beautiful to see,” she said. “What’s happening in the lower areas, the sumac and woodbine are changing. It is the perfect time to see the seasons changing. There are some trees that … are still very, very green. And then right in the middle of the tree is a pop of yellow. We are definitely not at the peak yet. There are some trees that have fully changed. But there are some that have little glimmers of what’s to come.”

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