Glorious fall colors at Ironton, along Red Mountain Pass south of Ouray, Colorado. Red Mountain #1 rises in the background.
There’s something so magnificent about fall which photos can barely capture. With every changing of the seasons, whether winter, spring, summer, or fall, I say to myself “This is my favorite season of all”. But it really is hard to deny that fall is the most spectacular. I don’t think that the mountains in Colorado can get any more beautiful!
Twin Peaks, as seen from my porch, in Ouray. This is the view I see out of my window every day as I work on the computer. It’s pretty torturous to gaze up there wishing I was hiking when I’m stuck in the office! As you can see, the fall colors are filling in around here. We also got some thunder and pouring rain from these dark clouds, which is a bit unusual this late in the season.
This last week I did a 7 day backpacking trip through the high and rugged Needle Mountains south of Silverton, Colorado. See my photos from the trip here. This trip had a couple unexpected events in store for me, but fortunately, Lady Luck was really by my side this time.
A near tragedy for my camera! I woke up at 3:30am one morning, and hiked up 1200 feet in the dark to the summit of aptly-named Knife Point, a 13,265-foot spire with a killer view into the heart of the Needle Mountains. Once the dawn light started illuminating the surrounding peaks, I started to take some photos. At one point, I decided to switch spots, and grabbing my tripod I started bounding up some rocks to get to the other side of the summit. I heard an odd jiggling sound coming from my tripod, and turned to look just in time to see my camera falling off the tripod, crashing and bouncing off boulders. Oh crap. In a state of shock and denial, I jumped down to the camera, noticing shattered glass and dismembered plastic. OH CRAP!
This last week I hiked the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) through the South San Juan Wilderness with two of my friends. It’s a 60+ mile trek from Cumbres Pass near Chama, New Mexico to Wolf Creek Pass near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Although we initially planned for 6 days out there, we ended up hiking an average of 13 miles per day, finishing in 5 days.
This hike was the longest distance backpacking trek I’ve ever done, and the first time in a long time that I’ve gone on a trip where the priority for me was the hiking itself, rather than the photography. We had a lot of ground to cover and we spent a good portion of each day just hiking. The photography was mostly unplanned, take-what-you-can-get shots along the way.
It’s pretty amazing to hike so far, basin after basin, each day looking back at distant mountains on the horizon and knowing that you just walked all the way from there, step by step. Although I usually prefer to hike shorter distances each day (to have more time to relax at each camp spot and concentrate more on photography), the South San Juans are well-suited for this style of long multi-day trekking. The mountains are remote with poor access, and the trail is fairly flat and mostly on high tundra with the logical camping spots being few and far between.
Sunset alpenglow light shines on the Amphitheater above the town of Ouray, Colorado. To see the opposite view, looking at the town from the top of the Amphitheater, check out this photo. Goes to show that mountains always feel much bigger when you’re on top of them rather than when you’re looking up at them.