On the last morning of January there was a lunar eclipse over much of western North America; here in Colorado the eclipse happened right at moonset, just before dawn and sunrise. This was a perfect scenario for us photographers, since photographing the eclipsed moon near the horizon is far more interesting than when it’s high in the sky. With this rare celestial lineup I had an ambitious plan to hike up to a 13,000-ft ridge to hopefully shoot the eclipse right behind Castle Peak in the Elk Mountains.
My friend Ann Driggers joined me and we backpacked into the mountains and set up a base camp in the snow at 11,600 ft. At 2:30 in the morning we woke up and hiked in the moonlight up a pass and along a long windswept ridge to 13,000 feet, only to have our hopes dashed by a thick layer of clouds blocking any potential for the dream shot I had in mind. Not only that but the brutal wind grew worse with sideways blowing snow, so we had little choice but to retreat and navigate back down via GPS.
Of course I was sorely disappointed to miss this rare photo opportunity that I had envisioned, but at least we put in a valiant effort!
Happy New Year from Crested Butte, Colorado! My wife tells me of a German tradition that the first 12 nights of dreams in the new year signify omens for the next 12 months. Well, last night my first dream of 2018 was of a new invention called “Feetza” — which was pizza shaped like a foot. Needless to say, I think my January is going to be brilliant!
I was happy that Matt invited me to participate on his podcast, since it’s one of my favorite podcasts that I listen to regularly. The podcast is devoted to landscape and nature photography, and I love the casual interview format of each episode. I’ve been binge listing in recent months; there’s almost 3 dozen episodes up already featuring a wide variety of talented and insightful photographers. (Matt himself is a very talented and insightful photographer too!) Many of his guests are very well spoken; me – not so much! But I hope you enjoy it anyways.
In early November a friend and I backpacked about 30 miles through Salt Creek and the Peakaboo Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. This canyon is renowned for its numerous Ancient Puebloan ruins and pictographs; in fact I’ve never seen so many ruins outside of the Cedar Mesa area!
In late October my buddy Kevin and I hiked down the Warner Route and camped along the Gunnison River at the bottom of the Black Canyon for a night. We brought our fishing rods for the “gold metal” water, and it did not disappoint! We caught a bunch of brown trout and kept a few for dinner. Delicious!
I floated and fished the lower Gunnison Gorge with my dad a couple times back in 2007 and 2008; you can see those photos here.
Kebler Pass is easily my favorite place to enjoy the aspens in Colorado, with the largest continuous mature aspen fields in the state and perhaps the world. This October was one of the stranger autumns transitions I’ve seen in Colorado; the aspens up on Kebler went from mostly green to peak gold in just a couple days, and a few days after that the color faded away. Myself and some photographer friends who were visiting Crested Butte were lucky to do a sunset hike up near Kebler Pass on the perfect day of peak color.
For all of August and September 2017, my wife and I lived out of our truck and tent while traveling around and backpacking in our great state of Colorado. We did over a dozen backpacking trips in various mountain ranges throughout the state, including the Flat Tops, Gore Range, Sawatch Range, San Juans, Sangre de Cristos, and Indian Peaks. I’ve posted my various photo journals from each trek on the Trip Reports page of my gallery site; here links to all those journals, in chronological order.
Just a quick update for those of you who follow my blog and haven’t seen a new post in over a month! At the end of July after our travels in Germany and Austria, we returned to Colorado and have been on the road here ever since, living out of our truck and doing back-to-back backpacking trips pretty much the entire time. So far we’ve backpacked in the Flat Tops, twice in the Gore Range, thrice in the Sawatch Range, and twice in the Sangres. Basically my goal this summer is to re-visit all these other mountain ranges in Colorado that I’ve neglected for the last decade or so while living in the San Juans and Elks. For the remainder of September we plan to spend more time in the Gores, as well as Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Suffice it to say, after three weeks of hut-trekking in the Alps and two months of backpacking in the Colorado Rockies, I have a truckload of new photos to share! Once we’re back settled into our place in Crested Butte in October, I’ll start rolling out the photos and trip reports from all of our summer adventures. Stay tuned!
I’m writing from Munich, having just wrapped up three wonderful weeks of hut trekking in the northern limestone Alps of Bavaria (Germany) and Tyrol (Austria). We hiked through the Karwendel range, crossed over the rugged Kaisergebirge, toured the Berchtesgaden mountains, and traversed the Dachstein — sleeping and eating in alpine huts all along the way with a few stays in villages in between. Though not as tall as the central ranges of the Alps, these jagged limestone mountains boast ultra rugged profiles that rival the famous Dolomites in Italy.
Of course I have a heap of new photos that I’m eager to share, but that will have to wait until after the summer when I’ve got my real computer monitor to work on (and a place to live). For the remainder of the summer we will be on the road in Colorado, living out of our truck and backpacking as much as we can!
The final destination of our three-week northern limestone Alps tour in July was the Dachstein mountain range of Austria. Starting from near the Südwandhütte, above the lovely village of Ramsau on the south side of the range, we hiked for three days around and over the Dachstein to the famous village of Hallstatt on the north side, via the Hofpürglhütte, Adamek-Hütte, and Simony Hütte.