Springtime at Blue Lakes

Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, sunset, tundra

Sneffels Range Tundra Sunset : Prints Available

The sun sets behind the Sneffels Range, as seen from the tundra near Upper Blue Lake - June. 

Claudia and I spent Thursday night up at Blue Lakes in the Sneffels Range. We enjoyed an exciting thunderstorm, followed by a windy evening, a night with an unidentified animal stalking around our tent, and finally a gorgeous clear morning. But the highlight of all – Claudia said yes and we’re engaged!!!

Blue Lake, Dallas Peak, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, panorama

Blue Lake Vertical Panorama : Prints Available

A vertical panorama of Lower Blue Lake under Dallas Peak and the Sneffels Range.
Lower Blue Lake, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Blue and Green : Prints Available

Shore of Lower Blue Lake, Sneffels Range, June. 
Blue Lake, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Lower Blue Lake Wideangle : Prints Available

A wide angle view of Lower Blue Lake in the Sneffels Range - June. 

North Crestone

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, North Crestone, sunset, June

After I left the Great Sand Dunes in the morning on Tuesday, on a whim I headed to nearby Crestone and went backpacking up the North Crestone Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Unlike the San Juans, which are still smothered in snow, the Sangres are almost totally dry already. Although I was planning on camping up at North Crestone Lake, when I finally arrived there [six fairly grueling miles later] I was disappointed to find no suitable spot to camp near the lake. Besides, it was very windy up there… too windy. So I retreated back to the next meadow down where I spotted a nice established camp spot in the forest next to the creek. Exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before in the Dunes, I took a nap, shot the sunset, lit a small campfire for a while, then fell fast asleep in my tent for nearly 12 hours!

The valley where I camped was not particularly photogenic, imo, and the boring blue sky was not inspiring either. After wandering around for a while the most interesting thing that caught my eye was a bunch of dead trees up on the mountainside. So I hiked up there and shot the setting sun beaming through the bare tree skeletons. Certainly not my best photo ever but I like it and I was proud of myself for putting in the effort to find one intriguing scene to shoot when normally I probably would have just not even bothered.

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, aspens, North Crestone, June

The lower/middle portion of North Crestone Creek is special because the valley is chock-full of aspens. This would be a spectacular hike to do in the fall when the trees are golden yellow!

A Night in the Dunes

Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, clouds

Medano Twilight : Prints Available

Spooky clouds hang over Medano Creek and the Great Sand Dunes after sunset. 

On Monday I headed to the Great Sand Dunes for a quick overnighter. I hiked in at about 10pm, slept on a dune for about 4 hours, then woke up around 3:30am to shoot the setting (nearly full) moon, followed by sunrise.

I had a blast out there with the camera… so much fun! And the hike out with Pink Floyd Meddle playing on my iPod was pretty groovy too! Here are some photos from the trip.

Continue reading “A Night in the Dunes”

Potosi

Climbing up Potosi's couloir, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Yesterday morning Ann Driggers and I set off to hike and ski the big north couloir on Potosi Peak – one of the most aesthetic couloirs in the San Juans, and a line that has been high on my to-do list for many years. With an ample June snowpack, sunny weather, and freezing temps at night, this was a perfect opportunity to get it done! Here is Ann climbing up the steep couloir. Continue reading “Potosi”

Smoky Ski

Skiing in forest fire smoke - San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Went up for a little ski tour this morning above Ouray, and was surprised to find the mountains choked with forest fire smoke (on an otherwise blue sky day). A quick Google news search shows that a wildfire is raging in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, which must be where all the smoke blew in from.

Dog on summit

A rare indigenous San Juan alpine wolf.

Double Shot

Skinning up a steep slope in the San Juans, Colorado

Skinning up a steep slope, looking at what would be our second descent route of the day.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Upon arriving at the summit, our north face descent route still needed some time to soften. Instead of waiting around up there, we decided to do a quick run down the east face, which was nice and soft already.

Skiing near Silverton in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Skier: Ann Driggers. The town of Silverton is located in the valley in the distance.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Having skinned back up the east face, the big north face was now good to go, and so we ended up scoring two nice corn lines today, the last day of May! See some more pics on Ann’s blog.