2010 was a wild year for me. After more than two years in the Vail Valley, I moved to Glenwood Springs to be closer to the construction project that I was promoted to manage. Unfortunately, the new project and responsibility left little time for hiking and photography. Even though I did not have as much free time as I would have liked, I was able to sneak away from civilization for a few longer backpacking trips. In one trip, I hiked Mount Sopris, near Carbondale, Colorado, and followed the 12000 foot high Elk Mountains Ridge from Mount Sopris all the way South to Capitol Peak. Four days, thirty miles and twelve thousand vertical feet of hiking later, my black lab Sally and I emerged at the Capitol Peak trailhead where my roommate had kindly stashed my truck for me! Another memorable hike of the Summer was over the Fourth of July where I hike nearly thirty miles to the headwaters of the Piney River in the Gore Range, crossed West Booth Pass and descended the Booth Creek drainage ending my hike near Vail. During that hike, I had a very close encounter with a friendly mountain goat and spent the night of Independence Day curled up in my sleeping bag hunkered down in my tent during a snow storm! I lucked out in the Fall when I visited the Kebler Pass area near Crested Butte and the McClure Pass area near Marble during the height of Fall colors. Of course, when winter set in, I spent as much time as I could sliding down the local mountains on my skis. Even though I wasn’t able to get out into the wild as often as I wanted, I was very productive with the free time that I did have! What a great year!
Lake Charles and Mystic Island Lake sit at the head of East Brush Creek; a creek that finds its source in a cirque with towering 13,000′ peaks surrounding the valley. The scale of the image above is impressive. More than a mile separates Lake Charles (in the lower right of the frame) and Mystic Island Lake (in the upper left of the frame).
Black Tooth Mountain and Ripsaw Ridge are reflected in a small pond northwest of West Booth Pass in the Eagles Nest Wilderness outside Vail, Colorado.
A curious goat says hello deep in the Eagles Nest Wilderness north of Vail, Colorado.
A lone tree clings to life in the Utah desert somewhere along a lonely highway.
The desert is alive! Insect tracks crisscross a windswept pattern in the sandy landscape near Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Even though a large portion of the Colorado high country is now protected as Wilderness, the land was not always held in such regard; the results of past clear cut logging are still clearly visible decades after this area, near 14er Huron Peak, was protected.
The great thing about Colorado is almost every town in or near the mountains is incredibly scenic. I took this photo of a clearing storm from from the sidewalk in front of city hall in Parachute, Colorado; no hiking involved!
Decaying remains of an old homesteader’s cabin sit right alongside the highway North of Meeker, Colorado. I drove by these remains this fall and this interesting window has deteriorated greatly in just the three years since I took this picture.
A clearing storm is lit ablaze by the last rays of sunlight high above Wall Lake as seen from Trappers Peak, deep in the Flat Tops Wilderness.
Puffy Clouds drift by a small pond surrounded by a grassy meadow on top of the plateau southwest of Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado.
One must follow a rough 4×4 road into the mountains outside Marble, Colorado for more than six miles to reach this landmark. To see a structure so old in such a remote place is really something special. Unfortunately, as beautiful as the Crystal Mill is, it stands a reminder to me of man’s zeal to exploit nature; even in the most remote and beautiful of places.
A fiery sunrise and fall color combine to create a scene to remember at the often photographed Crystal Mill, deep in the Elk Mountains.
An interesting cloud forms over a lone tree on top of Arkansas Peak with the massive Treasure Mountain looming in the distance.
A slowly decaying fence stands alone on the vast South Dakota prairie.