Autumn on Stony Pass

September 2012  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

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 in the San Juan Mountains east of Silverton, Colorado. 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.

Golden autumn tundra contrasts with the purple mountains near Silverton.

Purple and Gold

Golden autumn tundra contrasts with the purple mountains near Silverton.

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

Stony Pass Sunrise

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

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

Stony Pass Peak Sunrise

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

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

Stony Contours #2

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

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!

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

Stony Contours #3

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

Stony Contours #4

Golden autumn colors on the rolling tundra near Stony Pass - September.

Hiking along the tundra above Highland Mary Lakes.

Hiking along the tundra above Highland Mary Lakes.

We spent the second day doing a fairly long day hike from Stony Pass to a high point above Highland Mary Lakes. Big dark clouds in the afternoon had us scurrying back to the safety of our truck!

Rich sunset light illuminates the golden autumn tundra of Cunningham Gulch, with the Grenadier Range in the background.

Cunningham Gulch Sunset

Rich sunset light illuminates the golden autumn tundra of Cunningham Gulch, with the Grenadier Range in the background.

Tacoma on tundra

Tacoma on tundra

Though we love backpacking and getting out into the wilderness, the truck camping sure is deluxe from time to time!

As a side note, we really enjoyed our new truck mattress from The Foam Factory – a 4″ thick “Lux High Quality Foam” mattress. The standard 39 x 75″ size fits perfectly in the Tacoma truck bed between the wheel wells, and ships with a zipped cover for under $100 bucks! A great deal, I think, considering the options, and so much more comfortable than our regular camping mattresses!

Anyhow, autumn is here, the aspens are looking good and changing color quickly, and I look forward to lots more hiking and photography in the coming weeks!