Spring Vistas from the San Juans

Cimarrons, aspens, Sneffels Range, panorama, spring, Courthouse Mountain, Chimney Rock, Colorado
Cimarron Spring Panorama : Prints Available

Panoramic view of Chimney Rock, Courthouse Mountain, and brilliant spring green aspens along the Cimarrons, with the Sneffels Range and the town of Ridgway in the distance. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Cimarrons, Colorado, Precipice Peak, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Peak, Uncompahgre Wilderness
Cimarron Sunlight : Prints Available

Overlooking the East and Middle Forks of the Cimarron River. Uncompahgre Peak (the tallest mountain in the San Juans at 14,309 ft.) towers at the head of the East Fork valley on the left. San Juan Mountains, Colorado. (Tip of the hat to Matt Payne for the location inspiration).

I’ve been enjoying all the spring green colors in the San Juans lately by getting out for a lot of day hikes and overnight backpacking trips in the Sneffels Range and Cimarrons near Ridgway here southwest Colorado. I’ve posted these and many more recent photos in a Spring in the San Juans gallery here.

A Pleasant Valley Sunset

Log Hill, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Ridgway, Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley Sunset : Prints Available

A fantastic sunset cloud show above Pleasant Valley, the town of Ridgway, and the Sneffels Range, Colorado.

Log Hill, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Mount Ridgway, sunset
Mount Ridgway Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset light on Mount Ridgway and the Sneffels Range – May.

Here’s a few photos from an amazing sunset we had here in Ridgway a couple evenings ago. I’ve posted these and more recent spring photos from the Sneffels Range here.

Hot Carves

Colorado, Ema's Rollers, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – May 2020.

This morning we got out for a [possibly] final ski/splitboard tour on the quickly melting snowpack. After what had been an amazing backcountry winter season here in the San Juans, April brought drought and pandemic, and I actually haven’t been out snowboarding since late March! So it felt amazing to make some carves again on soft spring corn snow today.

At the end of March the San Juan snowpack was at 100% average level, but April and May have been so hot and dry that the snowpack has dropped to only 25% of average for mid-May, and a mere 13% of what the snowpack was at this time after last year’s mega winter. In other words, last year there was 8 times the amount of now as right now! [See SNOTEL data chart here].

Check out this photo below of Claudia skiing in the same place as the photo above, in JUNE last year!

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – June 2019.

Hopefully we get some weather and rain in late May and June, otherwise it could be a parched and smoky summer.

Canyons Close to Home

Colorado, Dolores River, Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, Bedrock
Dolores Light : Prints Available

Sunrise light above the Dolores River, within the Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, southwest Colorado.

Yearning for some closer-to-home adventure this spring, we ventured out for a few quick overnight backpack trips to explore some canyon and desert areas along the Dolores and Gunnison Rivers, both major river drainages of the San Juan Mountains where we live in southwest Colorado. See more photos here >>

From the Vault: Mount Sneffels Dusk Panorama

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, panorama
Mount Sneffels Dusk Panorama : Prints Available

Mount Sneffels (14,150 ft.) towering over its surroundings at dusk in early June. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Like many other landscape photographers grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, I have resorted to browsing through my photo archives as I dream of outdoor adventures. During one such hard drive foray I found some old unstitched panorama images and thought I’d work on putting them together finally. This photo was from a 2015 photo mission when I stayed up here well into the night to photograph the Milky Way over Mount Sneffels.

I wish you health, safety, and sanity during these uncertain times.

Planet B

Planet B

Planet B, an ice-laden bonfire sculpture by Jeff Skoloda in Ouray, Colorado.

Colorado, Ouray
Planet B #2

Planet B, a melting globe. Sculpture by Jeff Skoloda

Behold the most amazing bonfire I’ve ever seen – a giant sculpture of metal and the elements of fire and ice, titled “Planet B” by Jeff Skoloda in Ouray, Colorado. The sculpture consists of an outer globe shrouded in ice (handiwork of the Ouray Ice Park ice farmers), with a smaller inner sphere filled with firewood set ablaze. Despite the intense heat of the fire, the ice clung on for hours as we watched it slowly melt and fall off in chunks.

Only in Ouray.

(I composited the stars into the second photo for a more cosmic effect).

Courthouse on Fire

Cimarrons, Colorado, Courthouse Mountain, San Juan Mountains, sunset
Courthouse Blues : Prints Available

Evening light creeps up towards Courthouse Mountain, shrouded in a winter snowstorm.

Tonight’s sunset was a stunner in Ridgway, Colorado. It was so good I actually motivated to put a jacket on and step out to my porch with my telephoto lens. We see a lot of fine sunsets from our east-facing house, so I tend to get a bit jaded about photographing them unless there’s an exceptional light show like this evening’s!

Cimarrons, Colorado, Chimney Rock, San Juan Mountains, sunset
Chimney Rock Light : Prints Available

Sunset light on the Cimarrons and Chimney Rock, February.

Cimarrons, Colorado, Courthouse Mountain, San Juan Mountains, sunset
Courthouse on Fire : Prints Available

Brilliant sunset light on Courthouse Mountain in the Cimarrons, as seen from the town of Ridgway, Colorado.