Taken last night at about 1:30am. So, today I posted this photo on Google+, and another photographer pointed out something cool that I totally missed – that there is actually a faint aurora visible in the image! Apparently there have been a couple strong solar wind streams the last few days, causing auroras at lower-than-usual latitudes. The high-ISO exposure here reveals an aurora that was undetectable to the naked eye, but noticeable in the photo as faint green bands of color in the sky above the cliffs. Certainly not a polar-worthy display, but pretty cool nonetheless!
Here’s a snapshot pano from an utterly relaxing hike on a gorgeous June Sunday on my favorite trail of all around here – the Bridge of Heaven, high above Ouray, Colorado, with the Sneffels Range in the background.
While I’m in the snapshot posting mood, here’s another one from a couple weeks ago, atop Twin Peaks, a rocky pinnacle on the opposite side of the Ouray valley from the first photo above. I gaze at the rocky pinnacle of Twin Peaks from my office window every day, often wishing I was up there looking down rather than down here looking up!
On Saturday we took advantage of the glorious July weather and hiked up Hayden Mountain. Here’s Claudia hiking up to the 12,578 ft. northern summit of Hayden. The town of Ouray is tucked in the valley far below.
After a series of flights and frantic airport connections on Sunday, I finally made it back home to Ouray from Europe! It was quite a shock to come from full-on spring in Germany and Switzerland to full-on dumping snow in Ouray! It seems that spring is in no hurry around here; the trees are still bare and there looks to be quite a bit of snow in the higher peaks. The photo above was taken on Monday morning after about 8 inches of fresh snow blanketed the town overnight.
The recent snow melted in a few days and today I went on a hike up one of the drier trails in the Amphitheater above town.
It’s always interesting to return to the San Juans after visiting foreign mountains. I see with fresh eyes and appreciate the subtle characteristics that make these mountains unique. For example, while the mountains around Ouray aren’t quite as large, dramatic, and glaciated as the Swiss Alps around Engelberg, these mountains are more complex, with a much broader network of connected valleys and branching terrain.
Anyhow, it feels great to be back, and I look forward to a fun summer – especially when Claudia gets here in July! But first, a couple months of springtime adventures on the snow!
First snow in Ouray! Taken two days after the same fall photo in my previous post.