Trip Reports: Weminuche Wilderness Trek, Colorado - September 2007

Over a span of 7 days in late August/early September, I hiked alone through a high route in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juans. The mountains here are perhaps the most rugged and remote in all of Colorado. My lengthy backpacking itinerary allowed me to take a somewhat leisurely pace with my heavy load, and to savor the awesome and pristine landscapes which are ever present in this truly wilderness mountain range.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, photo

Narrow Gauge Railroad

Silverton, Colorado

My ride into the mountains: the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Originally built in 1881 to haul silver and gold ore from Silverton, the train nowadays hauls tourists. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Needles Range Sunrise, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Needles Sunrise

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Morning alpenglow reflection of the Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains - August. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Mountain goat, Turret Needles, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Mountain Goat

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

A mountain goat climbs in front of the Turret Needles, San Juan Mountains. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Mountain goat, Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Mountain Goat

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Mountain goat poses for me on a high pass in the Needle Mountains. I took a bunch of photos of this friendly local before continuing on my way. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Lightning bolt, Needle Mountains, Colorado, photo

Lightning Strikes

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

A lighting bolt strikes a mountainside during a hail storm in the Needle Mountains. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Alpine raspberries, photo

Alpine Raspberries

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Alpine rasberries. Mmmmm.... delicious! Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Mount Eolus, reflection, Needle Mountains, Colorado, photo

Needles Dawn Reflection

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Dawn reflection of Mount Eolus in a high lake in the Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains - September. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Rocky Reflection, San Juans, Colorado, photo

Rocky Reflection

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

unnamed lake high in the San Juans. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Meadow, Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Needles Meadow

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Fall colors starting to show in this high meadow in the Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness - early September. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Grenadier Range, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, photo

Grenadier Grass

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Sunrise light shines on the Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains - September. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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lake, reflection, Grenadier Range, Colorado, photo

Grenadier Sky Rocks

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

A pristine high lake with a shore so smooth that the waterline is almost invisible. The peaks of the Grenadier Range are reflecting in the distance. San Juan Mountains - September. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Vestal Peak, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, photo

Rainy Grenadiers

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Vestal Peak towers above these beaver ponds on a rainy evening in September. Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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forest, steam, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Steamy Morning

Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Steam rises off the rain and dew soaked forest on a sunny morning. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, photo

Narrow Gauge Railroad

Silverton, Colorado

Right on schedule, our ride arrives to bring us back to civilization. The guy on the far left walked out of the woods just as the train pulled up, seemingly completely unaware of the situation, and happily boarded the train for a surprise ride to Silverton. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.