With fresh snow in the San Juan Mountains and dreams of winter I couldn't resist heading up high for a quick early season winter camp at Ice Lakes Basin near Silverton. I got a little more than I bargained for with two feet of fresh powder and knee-deep postholing through a snowstorm up there! In the morning I was treated to some fiery light for a few moments at sunrise, for a different kind of autumn color.
Snowy Ice Lakes
Just for a fun comparison, check out this same creek in the summertime:
This was the third time I've early-season winter camped up at Ice Lakes, but by far the snowiest! (See previous trip reports from November 2009 and October 2012). Normally in the summertime I'd consider it disrespectful to camp in the upper Ice Lakes Basin due to the fragility of the tundra meadows and extreme popularity of the place (not to mention summer thunderstorm danger above treeline) but with two feet of fresh snow on the ground the crowds are nowhere to be found and any camping impact is negligible.