Photo Journal & Trip Reports (Backpacking & trekking)

Photo journals and trip reports from some of my outdoor photography adventures, starting with the most recent. You can subscribe to follow my latest blog posts (and any other blogs as well) by using a feed reader such as Inoreader or Feedly.

Hut to Hut in the Hohe Tauern
September 2022  |  Austria

In early September we headed south to Alps for an 8-day hut-to-hut trek through the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria. A north to south crossing of the Hohe Tauern range, our route started from near the town of Kaprun, took us right past Grossglockner (the tallest mountain in Austria), and ended in the town of Mörtschach – while staying at alpine huts for seven nights along the way.

High Hanging Fruit
August 2022  |  Sneffels Range, Colorado

When I first moved to southwest Colorado in 2006 I had a good 5-10 year stretch when the San Juan Mountains were pretty much a blank canvas for me for planning grand backpack treks and discovering loads of unique scenes to photograph...

Wild in the Gore Range
August 2022  |  Gore Range, Colorado

High above the bustling ski town of Vail and the drone of cars and trucks zooming along Interstate 70 rise the rugged mountains of the Gore Range, surrounded by civilization yet harboring some of the burliest peaks and wildest valleys in Colorado...

Light in La Platas
July 2022  |  La Plata Mountains, Colorado

La Plata Mountains are located just northwest of the town of Durango, Colorado, in the southwest corner of the greater San Juan Mountains. I guess it shows how vast the San Juans are that it's taken me 16 years to finally go visit La Platas! I've spied their rugged ridges off in the distance many times from the Weminuche Wilderness or the western San Juans, but for some reason I just never got around to driving down there...

Chasing Sunsets in the Weminuche
June/July 2022  |  Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

After a dry and extremely windy spring, this summer so far a strong monsoon weather pattern has settled in over the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, bringing much needed rain along with plenty of lightning and thunder...

A Semi-Traverse of La Sals
June 2022  |  La Sal Mountains, Utah

At the end of May/beginning of June, we headed over to La Sal Mountains above Moab, Utah, for our first mountain backpack adventure of this summer. The route I had in mind more or less traced the same route I did as a ski traverse of the northern La Sals back in 2008 with my friends Ann and Seth - except this time we were walking instead of skiing, we did a loop trek instead of a one-way shuttle, we stuck to the ridges instead of dropping into various basins, and we camped two nights along the way instead of powering through in one day...

Sandstone & Ponderosas
May 2022  |  Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

In mid-May we drove west to Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah for a quick 3-day backpack trip into a unique canyon full of giant ponderosa pines amongst giant sandstone spires. A spring-fed creek provided a pleasant base camp location to relax and spend a day exploring some fascinating and seldom-visited ancient cliff dwellings...

Summer Stories from the San Juans
July/August/September 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

As summer fades to autumn, I thought I'd share some new photos and stories from the last three months of backpacking in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Including and continuing from my last blog post ("Monsoon Explorations in the Weminuche"), my backpacking adventures this summer have been mainly focused on exploring hidden nooks and crannies of these mountains and finding unique perspectives to photograph...

Monsoon Explorations in the Weminuche
June/July 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In late June a record-breaking heat wave settled in over the southwestern United States. With a week of 95º heat in Ridgway and smoky skies from a huge wildfire in the nearby La Sal Mountains in southeast Utah, it was shaping up to be another dry and smoky summer here in the San Juan Mountains...

Journey Around the San Miguel Range
June 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Recently I've had an itch to do an adventurous high-mileage trek - something with long hiking days to whip my winter beer belly into shape. With snow still clinging to the alpine basins in early June here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, I knew the best place to trek would be something in the lower-elevation subalpine zone where the aspens are green as can be and the meadows are filled with flowers...

Southern Utah Getaway
April 2021  |  Southern Utah

Usually in the wintertime my driving force is to ride my snowboard/splitboard as much as possible whenever I'm not riding my office chair. But every year by about March or April cabin fever sets in and my powder lust wanes as I start to dream about warm weather and dry ground backpacking...

Into the Black Canyon
September-October 2020  |  Colorado

With sheer walls towering over 2,000 vertical feet above the Gunnison River, there's no easy way to visit the bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; every possible hiking route is a steep, rugged scramble...

At Home in the San Juans
September 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In mid-September just a few days after getting back home to Ridgway, Colorado after my big trek around Glacier Peak in the Washington Cascades, I packed my backpack once more and headed up into the Sneffels Range for a quick overnight backpack trip...

Hanging Around Glacier Peak
August/September 2020  |  Washington Cascades

In late August/early September I spent 9 days backpacking a 95-mile loop route around Glacier Peak, a volcano in the central Cascades of Washington. One of the more remote and wild volcanos of the Northwest, Glacier Peak is also unique in that it rises not solitarily but amongst a plethora of other surrounding rugged peaks and ranges in its namesake wilderness area...

Around Capitol and Snowmass
August 2020  |  Elk Mountains, Colorado

At the beginning of August we ventured into the beautiful Elk Mountains near Aspen, Colorado, for a 5-day backpack trek in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness circumnavigating Capitol Peak and Snowmass Mountain...

Columbines and Comets
July 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

In mid July I ventured up to a 13,000-foot ridge to photograph Comet NEOWISE above the Sneffels Range, in the San Juan Mountains above Ouray, Colorado. Here are some photos from that evening, along with some additional photos from later in July...

Through the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
July 2020  |  Sawatch Range, Colorado

This last week, in mid-July, we ventured out into the Sawatch Range for a 4-day, 25-mile, one-way shuttle trek through the southern bulk of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness west of Buena Vista, Colorado...

Across the San Miguel Range
July 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Over the 4th of July weekend, Claudia and I headed out into the Lizard Head Wilderness near Telluride, Colorado, for an adventurous 3-day backpack trek across the San Miguel Range. A week ago I did a solo backpack trip there near Lizard Head Peak, which got me thinking about a longer one-way shuttle trek route directly across and over the bulk of the range, starting from Lizard Head Pass on the southeast end of the range and ending at Woods Lake on the northeast side...

Lounging around Lizard Head
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Last week I went out on a solo 3-day backpack trip into the Lizard Head Wilderness, which encompasses the San Miguel Range of the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colorado. With the below average snowpack this last spring, the alpine summer is slightly ahead of schedule and already by late June the wildflowers are starting to pop out on the high tundra...

Macey & Horn Lakes
June 2020  |  Sangre de Cristos, Colorado

In mid-June we drove over to the Sangre de Cristo Range in south-central Colorado for four days of backpacking in some new (to us) valleys along the eastern side of the range. As usual in June, there was less snow in the Sangres compared to most other Colorado mountain ranges, and it was great to get out for our first real multi-day alpine lake type of backpack trip this summer...

Gladstone High Camp
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Situated in the center of the San Miguel Range near Telluride, Colorado, Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.) is overshadowed by its two popular neighboring fourteeners Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. But Gladstone is an awesome peak with a dramatic pyramid shape, and in my opinion one of the more photogenic mountains of the San Juans...

Early Summer in the San Juans
June 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado there's still snow lingering in the high peaks, as usual in June, so lately I've been doing a bunch of short backpack trips in the sub-alpine regions at or below treeline...

San Sophia High Camp
May 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

It's pretty rare to be able to camp up high in Colorado. In the summer the threat of thunderstorms above treeline is too terrifying, and in the winter it's just too damn cold. But in mid-May I had a perfect window of opportunity to hike up and camp at 13,200 feet up on a high ridgeline here in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado...

Canyons Close to Home
April 2020  |  Southwest Colorado

Yearning for some closer-to-home adventure this spring, we ventured out for a few quick overnight backpack trips to explore some canyon and desert areas along the Dolores and Gunnison Rivers, both major river drainages of the San Juan Mountains where we live in southwest Colorado...

2 Weeks in Grand Staircase Escalante
September 2019  |  Escalante, Utah

In the second half of September Claudia, her father Gundolf, and I spent two weeks in one of our favorite canyon areas of southern Utah - Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument*...

Wind River West Side Trek
September 2019  |  Wind River Range, Wyoming

In early September I backpacked for 10 days in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. This was my fourth long backpack trip in these fantastic mountains, but this time I did a one-way shuttle trek along the western side of the range through the Bridger Wilderness starting from the Elkhart Park trailhead and ending at Big Sandy to the south...

Roaming the Uncompaghre Wilderness
August 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

During the first two weeks of August I revisited several of my favorite backpacking treks in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juan Mountains of Colorado, for a total of 8 days of hiking through a good portion of the wilderness...

High Above Ouray
August 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Last night I camped up on a high ridgeline in the San Juan Mountains about 4,000 feet above Ouray, Colorado, and enjoyed a fantastic sunset and sunrise from my airy perch.

Summer Green in the San Juans
July 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

After the enormous winter of 2018-2019 in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, by the end of July the snowpack has finally melted off enough to call it summertime in the alpine now. Last weekend we hiked a very pleasant three-day shuttle route through the vibrant green mountains west of Silverton...

Mosquito Warfare in the High Uintas
July 2019  |  High Uintas Wilderness, Utah

In late July we backpacked into the High Uintas Wilderness in Utah, to a couple high basins at the head of the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River. These lakes form the headwaters of the Bear River which flows north out of the Uintas, through Wyoming and Idaho, then back around south into Utah and the Great Salt Lake, making it the largest river in the North America that doesn't eventually reach the ocean...