Photo Journal & Trip Reports (Colorado)

Photo journals and trip reports from some of my outdoor photography adventures, starting with the most recent.

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 95ยบ 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...

Springtime in the San Juans
May/June 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Spring is quite possibly the most beautiful time of year around the lower elevations of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, with snow capped peaks rising above brilliant green aspens and wildflower-filled meadows...

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...

Winter in the San Juans
Winter 2021  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The 2020-21 winter season in southwest Colorado got off to a slow start, with around 60% of average snowfall at the beginning of January. But in late January a potent southwest storm cycle dumped over 3 feet of much-needed powder in the San Juans, bringing us closer to average...

2020 in the Rearview
December 2020  |  Colorado

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a bummer year for the record books. From struggling through an out-of-control global pandemic, to choking on wildfire smoke for months on end, to enduring the daily depredations of dumpster-fire politics -- almost every single day of 2020 seemed to serve up another steaming poo platter for us to digest...

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...

A Sunset and a Lion
October 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

By mid-October all the aspen leaves have fallen and the color is gone from the mountains. Nevertheless, on Thursday afternoon last week, with clear air and a sky full of high clouds I decided spontaneously to go for a big hike to watch the sunset from the top of a 13,500 foot peak high above the town of Telluride...

Autumn Gold Rush in the San Juans
September-October 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Walking through a grove of autumn aspens must be one of the most beautiful experiences that nature has to offer. Sunlight illuminates the golden leaves like a brilliant stained glass window in a cathedral of nature, like stepping into a colorful pointillist painting of Vincent van Gogh or Gustav Klimt...

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...

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...

Spring in the San Juans
May 2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

May is always a glorious month in the mountains of Colorado, when the freshly budded aspen forests have a brilliant green glow and snow has mostly melted off the trails but still lingers in the high peaks...

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...

Rock, Rust, and Lichen
May 2020  |  Ouray, Colorado

Rock textures photographed while hiking in the mountains around Ouray, 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...

2019-20 Winter in the San Juans
2019/2020  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Here is a collection (in chronological order) of my favorite photos taken during the 2019/20 winter here in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.

From December through March, this was one of the best backcountry splitboarding seasons in memory here in the San Juans...

Autumn in the San Juans
October 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The fall colors in the San Juan Mountains have been beautiful this season, though the persistent clear blue skies have put somewhat of a damper on the photographic potential. But it's always glorious to walk through colorful aspen groves regardless of the weather, and we did have a few short windows of more interesting skies and light to enjoy...

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...

Late Early Summer in the San Juans
June-July 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Last year in the spring of 2018 I was talking about how that winter's meager snowpack had caused summer to arrive a full month early in May, and I was able to trek from Ouray to Telluride in mid-May when normally that would be a mid-June type of thing to do...

Through and Around the Great Sand Dunes
June 2019  |  Colorado

Eager to go backpacking while the mountains are still filled with snow, in early June we returned to the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado to trek for three days all the way through the dunefield then back around them...

Spring Skiing in the San Juans
April-June 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

If you've followed my blog for a while, you may wonder if I've given up on snowboarding since I haven't posted hardly any ski/snowboard photos this winter. Well, while I haven't been posting much, I have been out on the snow a lot this season, especially this spring!

2018-2019 was a winter to remember in Colorado, with roughly 160% of average snowpack by late winter...

Starlight on Sneffels
June 2019  |  San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The winter of 2018-2019 in the San Juan Mountains has been one for the records books, with about 600% of average snowpack at the start of June. With all this beautiful snow in the mountains this spring, lately I've been having some hairbrained photo mission ideas - one of which was to hike up Mt...