In mid August we found ourselves drawn back to the San Juans like moths to a flame. We spent a few nights car camping up above Red Mountain Pass, drove eastward over four old mining road passes, then did a backpack trip intp Cataract Gulch near the 14er Sunshine Peak.
After enjoying the solar eclipse we continued up to the 13,339-foot summit of Brown Mountain which offered a great view looking back south towards Red Mountain. If you look closely at the bottom left corner of the above photo you can see the road where we camped in our truck for a couple nights.
Following rough high elevation old mining roads, we drove eastward through the San Juans over Corkscrew Pass, Hurricane Pass, California Pass, and Cinnamon Pass, then did a one night backpack trip into Cataract Gulch near the 14er Sunshine Peak.
It is sobering seeing the vast dead forests on the entire eastern side of the San Juans. I wonder if it's just a matter of time before all of Colorado's pine forests are dead, leaving us with only our memories of what healthy green forests once looked like.
After hiking up Cataract Gulch we found this amazing overlook with a front and center view of Sunshine Peak and the Lake Fork Gunnison River valley. What a great spot to chill out and soak in the view all afternoon and evening!
It was sprinkling rain in the morning, but the rising sun poked through the clouds for a brief but glorious moment of light. With ominous-looking rainclouds rolling in, we packed up the tent in a hurry and high-tailed it off the high tundra before we even had a chance to make coffee!