Autumn Glory

Colorado,Crystal Lake,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, aspens
Crystal Lake Autumn Reflection : Prints Available

Morning reflection of the Red Mountains and golden aspens caked with fresh autumn snows. San Juan Mountains, Colorado – September.

Is there ever a more beautiful time and place than autumn in the aspen forests of Colorado? I seriously doubt it.

moose,Colorado,San Juan Mountains
Moose in the Aspens

Mr. Moose agrees. More photos below! Continue reading

Stormy Sunset over Potosi Peak

Colorado,Potosi Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, sunset, Yankee Boy Basin
Potosi Autumn Sunset : Prints Available

Stormy sunset over Potosi Peak and Yankee Boy Basin – Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

This afternoon I spontaneously decided to attempt an evening hike of Mt. Sneffels. I suppose I was overly optimistic about the weather forecast because when I arrived in Yankee Boy Basin the ominous dark clouds had me scared to get out of my truck, much less hike a peak! So I sat in my truck for a few hours, enjoying the sound of the rain and the flash bangs of lightning and thunder.

Right before sunset the storm relaxed and some sunlight beamed through the clouds, illuminating the landscape with an eerie warm glow. It would have been a stunning scene to see from the summit, though probably not worth dodging lightning bolts for!

Alpensoak

Colorado,Conundrum Hot Springs,Elk Mountains, Aspen
Soaking with a view in Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen, Colorado.

There are few things in life finer than soaking in natural hot springs, especially when those hot springs are situated at treeline in an alpine basin surrounded by high peaks and valley vistas! Such is the case at Conundrum Hot Springs, a remote but popular wild hot springs in the Elk Mountains between the towns of Aspen and Crested Butte in Colorado. Continue reading

A Visit to Columbine Lake

Relaxing at Columbine Lake

The lazy melancholy atmosphere of autumn has arrived in the high country… the tundra is golden brown, the air has a crisp edge, and the marmots have either burrowed into their holes or retreated to lower elevations. Yesterday we went out for a quick overnighter at Columbine Lake, in the San Juans of Colorado, to savor some time up high before the winter snows cover the tundra for another nine months.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, sunrise, September, Lookout Peak
Sunrise at Columbine Lake : Prints Available

Sunrise light on Lookout Peak (13,661 ft.) above Columbine Lake – September.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, September
The brilliant blue waters of Columbine Lake on a bluebird September morning.

Handies Peak

14er,Colorado,Handies Peak,San Juan Mountains, Sloan Lake, Jones Mountain, Niagara Peak, La Plata Mountains
Handies Peak Summit View : Prints Available

Looking southwest from the summit of Handies Peak (14,053 ft.) towards Sloan Lake, Jones Mountain, Niagara Peak, and La Plata Mountains in the far distance.

After a wet rainy week stuck inside the house, by Thursday I’d had enough and decided to get out and hike up Handies Peak, a fourteener here in the San Juans which I haven’t hiked before. Despite the cold wind and nasty looking clouds, I continued up the peak, encouraged by the occasional glimpse of blue sky. Sure enough, as I approached the summit the clouds started clearing off a bit, so I sat up there for a few hours bundled up in my down clothes and waited for sunset – which never really did much, but anyways it wasn’t a bad place to hang out for a while!

14er,Colorado,Handies Peak,San Juan Mountains, Sunshine Peak, Redcloud Peak
Handies Peak Summit Sunset : Prints Available

Fast moving clouds at dusk on the summit of Handies Peak (14,053 ft.).  Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks are two more 14ers visible on the left side horizon.

On a side note, earlier this summer in July, Adam Campbell, a runner in the infamous Hardrock 100 endurance race, was nearly struck by lightning high on Handies. He and his pacer were both knocked off their feet, but otherwise uninjured, and he continued on to finish third place!

8 Days In the Wind Rivers

Ambush Peak,Mount Bonneville,Raid Peak,Wind River Range,Wyoming
Desolation Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset above the jagged peaks of Desolation Valley, including Ambush Peak (12,173 ft.) and Raid Peak and Mount Bonneville in the background.

The Wind River Range forms 110 miles of the Continental Divide in central Wyoming. Notable for its plethora of alpine lakes, its soaring granite walls, and some of the largest glaciers in the US Rockies, the Winds are a supremely majestic mountain range and a paradise for backpackers, climbers, and fishermen.

It’s been eight years since my last backpack treks in the Winds, and I’ve been excited to get back ever since. Last week Claudia and I went up there and did an eight-day, ~55 mile backpack trek through the southern portion of the range.

Cathedral Lake,Wind River Range,Wyoming, Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Sunset Reflection : Prints Available

Cathedral Peak (or technically an arm of Cathedral Peak) reflects in Cathedral Lake at sunset.

See lots more photos from our journey below! Continue reading

Wildflower Wonderland

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Sultan's Rainbow : Prints Available

Sultan Mountain at the end of the rainbow.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,wildflowers, paintbrush
Paintbrush Morning : Prints Available

A large field of Indian Paintbrush wildflowers on a stormy July morning.

Earlier this week Claudia and I backpacked for 5 days in the mountains west of Silverton, Colorado, following an improvised route that took us through numerous high alpine basins filled with endless fields of wildflowers. With a weather forecast calling for lots of rain, we almost decided against this trip – but then I considered that bad weather usually equals good photos, so at the last minute we decided to go for it anyways. Although we did have our fair share of rain, we also witnessed some of the most spectacular scenes of the summer so far!

See lots more photos below! Continue reading

Mystical San Juans

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,wildflowers, July
Paintbrush Sunset : Prints Available

Indian Paintbrush wildflowers backlit by sunset in the San Juans, Colorado – July.

The San Juans were treated to a fantastic sunset last night, followed by an even more spectacular sunrise. I was fortunate to squeeze in a quick trip to the mountains to catch the shows.

Colorado,Grenadier Range,San Juan Mountains,Weminuche Wilderness, Vestal Peak, Arrow Peak
Grenadiers Above the Clouds : Prints Available

Sunrise light illuminates Vestal Peak (13,884 ft.) and Arrow Peak (13,803 ft.) in the Grenadier Range, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado.

Colorado,Grenadier Range,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, tundra, July
Rolling Tundra : Prints Available

The rugged Grenadier Range rises above the rolling green tundra of the Weminuche Wilderness – July.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, clouds, tundra
Weminuche Clouds : Prints Available

Misty clouds above the tundra headwaters of the Rio Grande, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, clouds
Rolling Clouds : Prints Available

Misty clouds roll over the high tundra in the Weminuche Wilderness.