Each October, Fryingpan Road from the town of Basalt to the dam at Ruedi Reservoir becomes the site of a whimsical tradition. Pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes pop up along the 14-mile stretch of asphalt—along rock ledges, on fence posts, atop tree trunks, on top of signs, even on rocks or logs in the middle of the Fryingpan River. Spotting the colorful squash is like a game of I Spy; on a recent drive up the valley, my family’s count reached 120.

Who actually takes the time to place all of the pumpkins remains a mystery—and one we don’t really even want to know the answer to. But my nine-year-old has his own theory as to who’s behind the effort.

It’s the pumpkin fairy.

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