Lightning Overdose at Blue Lakes

Blue Lakes and Mt. Sneffels

On Saturday I went on a quick overnight backpacking trip to Blue Lakes, under Mt. Sneffels. I’ve been to Blue Lakes before in May, with the peaks and lake smothered in snow, and I’ve been there in the summer, with the wildflower fields and lush green tundra. But I’ve never been there in September, and I was amazed at the beauty of the multicolored autumn tundra.

It was also great to get back up into the San Juans again after my last few weeks of laziness (and after my six weeks abroad before that). There’s something indescribable about these mountains that I just love so much. It’s hard to put my thumb on any one thing, it’s more just a feeling I get when I’m here. Perhaps I’ll try to explain this in some future rambling post.

Lightning in Colorado

After a fun evening of photography, I was then treated to an freakish all-night-long thunderstorm. The photo above is a stacked exposure of six shots, taken during five minutes at sunset. This same storm moved up into the mountains around my camp soon afterwards; imagine the nearly constant bolts like in this photo, but all around me in the high mountain basin! I didn’t sleep hardly a wink, but it certainly made for a memorable night!

>>See my photos and read more about the trip here.<<

9 thoughts on “Lightning Overdose at Blue Lakes

  1. That is amazing…..and extremely dangerous!!! I would have been praying loudly! Blue Lakes are beautiful, I’ve only hiked up there during summer. I love your Fall shot. And the lightening shots are incredible, just be careful, those strikes hurt!
    Carol

  2. Hi Carol,
    Fortunately I was camped in a forest of large pines, so the chances of a bolt striking my tent were minimal (theoretically). Had I been dumb enough to be camped up on the tundra above treeline during the storm, I would have been truly scared for my life! (As has happened to me before… but never again!)

  3. That lightning shot is really cool. I camped up at Capitol Lake and had much the same experience in my tent. I swear the ground shook at one point and I got tingly all over!!!! Snow when we woke up in the a.m. too. Pretty wild night.

  4. Cool lightning image and nice story, Jack. Marla and I had an eerily similar experience for two nights at Blue Lakes a few years ago. There must be something about the BIG mountain and surrounding ridges that attracts lightning like a magnet. I forgot to bring something to read on that trip and studied the map and counted ripstop squares for hours……… Cheers!

  5. Jack,

    The first one is absolutely stunning. The lighting is perfect and it creates a mood that is so peaceful that I want to leave Austin right now and never go back. Sorry, family! Right?! Great series!

  6. Great Photos Jack, and a cool twilight lightning op in the mountains, those must be rare to be able to capture that many cg’s in a little mountain thunderstorm. I also enjoyed your NZ photos VERY much. Keep up the fantastic work! It is an inspiration to many!

  7. I know what you mean with the lightning. First time in my life I actually felt a twinge of fear with lightning around, camped on a hillside close to the outlet of the Upper Blue Lake. It was early July 2012, lightning crashing all around, wind and rain pounding for hours. It was at the same time exhilarating and frightening! Gotta tip my hat to my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1, thing took a beating and stood firm, no leaks, too. Like Wally in an earlier post, forgot my Nook, so it was a very contemplative time. 🙂

    Love the stacked exposure photo, very nice!

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