Southwest Powder Days

Colorado,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, skiing, hiking

Towards the end of February our month-long drought of snow here in southwest Colorado ended with a powerful snowstorm that dropped several feet of powder on the mountains. I suspect that nearly every skier in the entire region dropped what they were doing to get out and enjoy the return of winter! Continue reading “Southwest Powder Days”

Autumn Glory

Colorado,Crystal Lake,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, aspens
Crystal Lake Autumn Reflection : Prints Available

Morning reflection of the Red Mountains and golden aspens caked with fresh autumn snows. San Juan Mountains, Colorado – September.

Is there ever a more beautiful time and place than autumn in the aspen forests of Colorado? I seriously doubt it.

moose,Colorado,San Juan Mountains
Moose in the Aspens

Mr. Moose agrees. More photos below! Continue reading “Autumn Glory”

Stormy Sunset over Potosi Peak

Colorado,Potosi Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, sunset, Yankee Boy Basin
Potosi Autumn Sunset : Prints Available

Stormy sunset over Potosi Peak and Yankee Boy Basin – Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

This afternoon I spontaneously decided to attempt an evening hike of Mt. Sneffels. I suppose I was overly optimistic about the weather forecast because when I arrived in Yankee Boy Basin the ominous dark clouds had me scared to get out of my truck, much less hike a peak! So I sat in my truck for a few hours, enjoying the sound of the rain and the flash bangs of lightning and thunder.

Right before sunset the storm relaxed and some sunlight beamed through the clouds, illuminating the landscape with an eerie warm glow. It would have been a stunning scene to see from the summit, though probably not worth dodging lightning bolts for!

A Visit to Columbine Lake

Relaxing at Columbine Lake

The lazy melancholy atmosphere of autumn has arrived in the high country… the tundra is golden brown, the air has a crisp edge, and the marmots have either burrowed into their holes or retreated to lower elevations. Yesterday we went out for a quick overnighter at Columbine Lake, in the San Juans of Colorado, to savor some time up high before the winter snows cover the tundra for another nine months.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, sunrise, September, Lookout Peak
Sunrise at Columbine Lake : Prints Available

Sunrise light on Lookout Peak (13,661 ft.) above Columbine Lake – September.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, September
The brilliant blue waters of Columbine Lake on a bluebird September morning.

Handies Peak

14er,Colorado,Handies Peak,San Juan Mountains, Sloan Lake, Jones Mountain, Niagara Peak, La Plata Mountains
Handies Peak Summit View : Prints Available

Looking southwest from the summit of Handies Peak (14,053 ft.) towards Sloan Lake, Jones Mountain, Niagara Peak, and La Plata Mountains in the far distance.

After a wet rainy week stuck inside the house, by Thursday I’d had enough and decided to get out and hike up Handies Peak, a fourteener here in the San Juans which I haven’t hiked before. Despite the cold wind and nasty looking clouds, I continued up the peak, encouraged by the occasional glimpse of blue sky. Sure enough, as I approached the summit the clouds started clearing off a bit, so I sat up there for a few hours bundled up in my down clothes and waited for sunset – which never really did much, but anyways it wasn’t a bad place to hang out for a while!

14er,Colorado,Handies Peak,San Juan Mountains, Sunshine Peak, Redcloud Peak
Handies Peak Summit Sunset : Prints Available

Fast moving clouds at dusk on the summit of Handies Peak (14,053 ft.).  Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks are two more 14ers visible on the left side horizon.

On a side note, earlier this summer in July, Adam Campbell, a runner in the infamous Hardrock 100 endurance race, was nearly struck by lightning high on Handies. He and his pacer were both knocked off their feet, but otherwise uninjured, and he continued on to finish third place!

Wildflower Wonderland

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sultan Mountain,rainbow
Sultan's Rainbow : Prints Available

Sultan Mountain at the end of the rainbow.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,wildflowers, paintbrush
Paintbrush Morning : Prints Available

A large field of Indian Paintbrush wildflowers on a stormy July morning.

Earlier this week Claudia and I backpacked for 5 days in the mountains west of Silverton, Colorado, following an improvised route that took us through numerous high alpine basins filled with endless fields of wildflowers. With a weather forecast calling for lots of rain, we almost decided against this trip – but then I considered that bad weather usually equals good photos, so at the last minute we decided to go for it anyways. Although we did have our fair share of rain, we also witnessed some of the most spectacular scenes of the summer so far!

See lots more photos below! Continue reading “Wildflower Wonderland”