Back in Colorful Colorado

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Kebler Pass, Marcellina Mtn, October, aspens, autumn, fall
Kebler Autumn Sunset : Prints Available

Golden aspens illuminated by sunset light, with Marcellina Mountain in the distance. Near Kebler Pass in the Elk Mountains, Colorado.

We are finally back home in Crested Butte, Colorado after our big 3.5-month road trip! On our first day back here yesterday I celebrated our return with a hike through the aspens up near Kebler Pass. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for several weeks now and it was nothing short of awesome, with the aspens at peak goldenness.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Kebler Pass, October, aspens, autumn, fall
Kebler Golden Reflection : Prints Available

Golden aspens reflected in a beaver pond near Kebler Pass.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Kebler Pass, October, aspens, autumn, fall
Kebler Golden Reflection 2 : Prints Available

The vast fields of aspens up near Kebler are like the redwoods of aspens forests — I know of no other place with such an abundance of pure, large, white aspen boles.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Kebler Pass, October, aspens, autumn, fall
Golden Kebler : Prints Available

Golden aspens near Kebler Pass.

Walking amongst the golden aspens, I’m filled with an almost tangible feeling of the glory of our Earth, like walking through a cathedral of light. Honestly, I think this is the most beautiful thing to be experienced in nature — more beautiful than wildflowers, than waterfalls, than auroras even.

Colorado, Elk Mountains, Kebler Pass, October, aspens, autumn, fall, trail
Yellow Leaf Road : Prints Available

A trail through the aspens.

I’m so happy to be home, so stoked on Colorado!

A Night Above Crested Butte

Colorado,Crested Butte,tent, moonlight, Ruby Range, Elk Mountains, dusk
Winter Camp over Crested Butte

Winter camp at dusk above the town of Mount Crested Butte, with moonrise light illuminating the Ruby Range and Elk Mountains – April.

Lately I’ve been itching for a camping adventure but have been too busy to do anything too ambitious or far away. Since we live across the street from Mt. Crested Butte, yesterday I figured what the hell, I might as well just skin up the ski slopes and camp up there for a night! It wasn’t exactly a wilderness experience (I could actually see our condo down below), but it was still nice to spend a quiet evening under the moonlight gazing at the mountains.

First Day in Crested Butte

Colorado,Crested Butte, autumn, September

Beginning a new chapter in our life together, Claudia and I have moved from Ouray to Crested Butte! As much as we love Ouray and the San Juans and all our friends there, after much contemplation we decided that we should try living in a bit larger town where Claudia would have more opportunities. I’ve always loved the Crested Butte area and Claudia was really attracted to it as well last time we were here (it’s hard not to be). And it also doesn’t hurt that there are coffee shops and bicycles everywhere!

Although the rental market is tough in Crested Butte (like most ski towns in Colorado), we ended up finding a nice condo up at Mt. Crested Butte which is a sort of condo-village right near the ski resort base area and only about a 5 minute drive from the town proper. From our terrace we have a panoramic view of the actual Mt. Crested Butte, the ski area, and the Elk Mountains! We celebrated our first morning here by hiking up to the top of the Butte to see the lay of the land.

Colorado,Crested Butte, summit, autumn, September

View from the 12,162 ft. summit of Mt. Crested Butte – September. Gothic Mountain is the prominent peak at center-left. To the right are the Elk Mountains; you can see the summits of Snowmass Mountain, the Maroon Bells, and Pyramid Peak sticking up higher than the rest. Our condo building is visible down there on the very left side of the photo.

Mt Crested Butte Summit Pano
A roughly 180º view from the summit of Mt. Crested Butte. The town of Crested Butte is down at the left; the village of Mt. Crested Butte and the ski area base are down in the center.

The aptly named Mt. Crested Butte is indeed a butte with a pointy crested top, rising solo in the center of a broad basin ringed by mountain ranges on almost all sides. From the 12,162 ft. summit you see mountain valleys radiating out in all directions like the spokes of a wheel. There’s a distinct feeling of spaciousness around here; although I’m probably more aware of this having lived in the deep box canyon of Ouray for the last 8 years.

Colorado, Crested Butte, sunset, September

A colorful autumn sunset over Mt. Crested Butte – September.

Packing up our house and leaving Ouray was a tough choice to make but now that we’re here I’m super stoked. We’ll be here at least through May and maybe we stay for good, maybe we go back to Ouray; we’re just playing it by ear and making the most of it wherever we are and wherever we end up.

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 “Alpensoak”

Weekend in Marble

McClure Pass, Colorado, Marble, aspens, sunset, September

McClure Aspenglow : Prints Available

Rich sunset light filters through the aspens on McClure Pass, near Marble, Colorado - September

This last weekend we did a little road trip up to Marble to spend the weekend with my friends in their cabin there. On the way over McClure Pass on Friday evening, I had to slam on the brakes and pull over to shoot this awesome sunset light shining through the aspen forest.

Hiking Treasure Mountain, Colorado

On Saturday Ann led us on a wonderful hike up a lesser known basin on Treasure Mountain, with ever-present views of Snowmass Mountain towering across the valley.

We were planning on doing some other kind of car-camping/backpacking adventure in the West Elk Mountains after that, but with the aspens on Kebler Pass still mostly green, along with a sudden bout of indecisiveness and lack of motivation to go backpacking, we ended up just driving back home to the San Juans! Not a bad option either.

Flight Over the Rockies

Mt. Evans, Aerial, sunset, Colorado, January, winter

Aerial view of Mt. Evans (14264 ft / 4348 m) - January. Note the road winding up to the summit.

After the most stressful and frustrating two days of flying that I’ve yet experienced, I’m finally back home in Colorado. In the grand scheme of things I suppose that two days, no matter how stressful, is a pretty quick time to travel from the tip of South America to the center of North America! But for a 21st century man it was just a pretty crappy series of delayed plane flights.

The nice thing, though, about living on Colorado’s western slope is the opportunity to fly directly over the Rockies whenever flying through the Denver hub. The half-hour flight yesterday from Denver to Montrose was one of the more scenic ones I’ve done, since we went right after the sun set, right after a snowstorm cleared. I was snapping away at the window with my camera most of the time, happy to have a nice consolation flight after such a long two sleepless days. See more shots below! Continue reading “Flight Over the Rockies”

Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop

Snowmass Lake, Snowmass Mountain, sunrise, alpenglow, reflection, Elk Mountains, Colorado

Snowmass Lake Alpenglow Reflection : Prints Available

Brilliant alpenglow on Snowmass Peak and Snowmass Mountain (14,092 ft.), reflected in Snowmass Lake - July. 

Last week we spent 6 days backpacking around the famous Maroon Bells in the Elk Mountains of Colorado. The photos pretty much tell the story so I won’t say too much else except that it was another great trek in Colorado!

See many more photos below! Continue reading “Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop”

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