Gold & Snow

Hiking in the Aspens, Colorado

The aspens up on Red Mountain Pass are going off right now! Today we went on a fantastic loop hike almost entirely through these golden cathedral forests.

Aspens, Red Mountain Pass, Ouray, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, September

Orange Aspens : Prints Available

First snow

We were surprised when it started snowing – the first snow of the year! Claudia was a bit dismayed… I was delighted! We sat under a pine tree for a while, mesmerized by the fat flakes drifting down.

Hiking above Red Mountain Pass, Colorado

The snowstorm passed quickly and the sun came out, melting the new snow within about 15 minutes. We continued on our way and eventually after a bit of easy bushwhacking found an old overgrown mining trail that offered a nice loop down through a different aspen-filled ridge.

Autumn Tundra

Stony Pass, sunrise, Silverton, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Stony Pass Sunrise : Prints Available

A spectacular sunrise over Stony Pass, east of Silverton - September.

Desiring a leisurely change of pace after our recent tiring backpacking treks, Claudia and I decided to go car camping this weekend up on Stony Pass east of Silverton, Colorado.

Stony Pass Peak, Weminuche Wilderness, Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Stony Pass Peak Sunrise : Prints Available

Sunrise atop Stony Pass Peak, looking over the high rolling tundra of the northern Weminuche Wilderness towards the Grenadier Range - September.

Nearby Stony Pass Peak provided an easily-accessed wonderful vantage point over the rolling tundra of this area and the rugged Grenadier Range in the distance to the south.

Stony Pass, autumn, tundra, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, September, abstract

Stony Pass Abstract #2 : Prints Available

The contours and textures of the tundra around here make for fantastic abstract photo opportunities with a telephoto lens, especially with the golden autumn colors!

More photos below! Continue reading “Autumn Tundra”

The Lime Loop

Needle Mountains, Weminuche, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, hiking

Over Labor Day weekend some friends joined us for a strenuous 3-day loop trek in the Weminuche Wilderness, south of the area we hiked through last week.

Turret Peak, Emerald Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, reflection

Emerald Cloud Reflection : Prints Available

The weather was a bit wacky during this trek – ominous clouds threatened rain and thunder during the days, but the rain only came during the night.

More photos below! Continue reading “The Lime Loop”

The Wild Heart of the San Juans

Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Weminuche Wilderness, clouds, reflection

Misty Mountain Morning : Prints Available

Storm clouds break up and lift off of the Needle Mountains, in the high Weminuche Wilderness - August.

Mountain goat, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Father Goat #1 : Prints Available

Mountain goat in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Vestal Peak, Arrow Peak, Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, sunrise, reflection

Grenadier Sunrise Reflection #2 : Prints Available

Reflection of the Grenadier Range during a fiery sunrise.

Last week we went on another 7-day trek through the high peaks of the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. During our backpacking trip we were treated not only to spectacular mountain vistas, but to some pretty cool wildlife encounters too! See LOTS more photos from our trek below! Continue reading “The Wild Heart of the San Juans”

Bridge of Hayden

Hayden Trail, Weehawken, Potosi Peak, hiking, Ouray, Colorado, August

Hiking the Hayden Trail, with Potosi Peak and Weehawken valley of the Sneffels Range in the background.

We started my birthday off right this morning with a hike up Hayden Mountain, high above Ouray. We found a new ridge-route to an awesome overlook point that I never realized was there, despite having hiked up past here numerous times before. This is definitely now one of my favorite Ouray hikes, along with the Bridge of Heaven on the opposite side of Ouray.

Hayden Mountain, Ouray, Colorado, August

We are excited to finally go backpacking again in a couple days – for a week long trek in the Weminuche – woohoo!

Time to Boogie!

Ouray Concert Series - June
Chuck Prophet rocking the Ouray Concert Series

After six months of working and dreaming, it’s finally time to shut down the computer and hit the road! Where we’re going, I do not know. With much of the western US up in smoke, so are my original backpacking plans and most of my other ideas. All I know is that I need to unplug, to get away, to completely obliterate my daily routine. This will surely involve some long backpacking treks in some mountains someplace. Someplace that’s not on fire or smothered with smoke or dried to a crisp. Somewhere blue.

Updates below… Continue reading “Time to Boogie!”

Starry Night in Ouray

Stars, Ouray, Colorado, night, town, June

Stars Over Ouray : Prints Available

Starry new-moon night over the town of Ouray, in southwest Colorado - June.

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!

Redcliff and Precipice Peak

Redcliff, Wetterhorn Peak, hiking, June, Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado

Hiking up Redcliff, with Wetterhorn Peak in the background - June.

With clear blue skies and dry weather, we spent the weekend car camping and peak bagging in and around the West Fork of the Cimarrons, on the northern end of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Towering over the West Fork valley are a number of rugged mountains, including the thirteeners Redcliff and Precipice Peak. I’ve passed these two peaks many times during backpacking treks in the Uncompahgre Wilderness and always wondered what it would be like to hike up them. This weekend would be a good opportunity to find out!

Read on… Continue reading “Redcliff and Precipice Peak”

Sunday Stroll

Hiking Bridge of Heaven, Ouray, Colorado
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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.

Twin Peaks, Ouray, Colorado

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!