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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Southwest Photo Tour

Each Fall I like to do a week or two photo trip in what I call my backyard- Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Southwest Colorado and Northern New Mexico. I sure you could spend a lifetime photographing in these states and not come close to seeing all that is there but it is fun to try. In September I will again join up with Don Messic, who runs great workshops in his studio in Santa Fe, to tour the area with a photographic group.
This summer as I have done for several years I am spending my summer in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, yes, it is too hot in Arizona for anything there to be photogenic. The Colorado portion of this tour will go through my summer home at a time when the Aspen should be at peak color. We plan to do a couple 4WD trails with lots of Aspens and mining ruins. The schedule should allow time for a optional trip on the steam train from Silverton to Durango through the Animas Canyon.

Top of Ophir Pass

Last year the snow at this spot at the top of Ophir Pass at around 12,000 feet was deeper than the vehicle. The yellow sign to the right of the trail warns that it is a one lane road. With very steep and narrow switchbacks on both sides of the pass it shows that the county has a sense of humor. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Panorama Como Lake

Another panorama mad from several shots, this time from Como Lake.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cunningham Gulch

End of Trail in Cunningham Gulch

Cunningham Gulch has lots of waterfalls but with the snow mostly melted they are not as strong as usual. This is as far as you can drive but there is a hiking trail going up from here to Highland Mary Lake. Just as we parked here our friend Sharon saw a bear scramble up the creek. By the time I got my camera out it was out of site.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Little Giant Basin

On the trail to Little Giant Basin

Lake at Little Giant Basin

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Waterfall into Uncompahgre Gorge

On highway 550, near Ouray, a stretch called the "million dollar highway"  there are some large waterfalls where the stream goes under the road then falls down into the deep Uncompahgre Gorge. In the past you could never see the bottom of this falls but when the highway department put the new bridge in the added a platform to walk out on for this great view.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moose on the Loose

Moose at Mineral Creek


Deer at 12,000 feet

There are a few Moose in the area but they are rarely seen although everyone tries to find them. This one was along Mineral Creek where the high brush gives him great places to hide. I had seen his footprints in the mud the day before and knew he was in the area but it was luck that allowed us to see hm at sunset through a break in the brush. He hung around for a few photos then walked away. Even though we knew where he was Linda standing on the seat and through the sunroof couldn't spot him again in the brush.
Marmots are the most common animal seen on the trail, sometime there are a group of them running in and out of the mine ruins. They make a high pitch whistle and are sometime referred to as "whistle pigs". They are a major hazard to vehicles in the high country as they like to chew on brake lines and other rubber parts of of your vehicle.
We also saw six deer up at the 12,000 feet, normally they are not that high up. Driving from Ouray to Silverton we saw more than thirty in the twenty four miles at dusk.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red mountain at First Light

Como Lake

Red Mountain at First Light

Went up California Gulch from and had this view of Lake Como when we reached it about noon. The next day went up over Hurricane peak to the lake hoping the sunrise would be great at the peak as usually it is calm and the lake make a great photo subject but it was windy, and cold, heading back down the early morning sun was really bringing out the colors on red mountain

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mill at Animas Forks

This large multilevel mill above Animas Forks is looking worse each year. Part of it has fallen in due to exposure to snow and rain. Several of the old mining buildings in the area have been saved by the Historical Society which puts metal roofs on them to help protect them from the elements. Nothing has been done to protect this mill. It was one of the mills that was built as a pre-fab with each beam having a number which is still visible today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Prospect Gulch

Near Gladstone there is a trail to the mine ruins in Prospect Gulch. This leaning building and several others nearby is full of core samples. The two holer to the left has a great view down the valley. Further up the trail becomes very difficult due to washouts from the recent rains but it leads to a building with a large boiler and steam engine connected to a winch to lift oar from a vertical shaft.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Little Giant Basin-First Light

Lake in Little Giant Basin
Mill on trail to Little Giant Basin

Took the jeep trail up the Little Giant Basin leaving at 4AM to catch the first light at the lake at the top.  There have been sightings of Mountain Goats in this basin above 12,000 feet but saw none this day but there were some noisy birds in the surrounding cliffs.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hard Rock Hundred


The Hard Rock Hundred Race was run here last week. With a distance of 102.5 miles at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet and a total elevation gain of 32,992 feet this race is off road avoiding roads or jeep trails. The youngest runner was 21 and the oldest 72. Of the 140 starters 98 finished in the 48 hours allowed. The winning runner Hal Koerner did it with a time of 24:50 and the fastest woman was Darcy Africa with a time of 29:09.
If a hundred miles is to much for you this weekend you can run in the Kendall Mountain Half- Marathon or Full Marathon. This race starts in town at 9,318 feet to the  summit of 13,066 feet and back on jeep trails. If you do the full Marathon you just need to do it twice. The course record is 1:34 for the Half-Marathon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Panorama from Engineer Pass

A panorama made from nine photos looking north from Engineer Pass.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Engineer Pass

View from the top of Engineer Pass. Lot less snow than last year.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fog bow ?

Often we get some late afternoon rain and then the setting sun will sneak through the mountains to the west and we will get great rainbows both single and doubles in the valley east of camp. When we get a lot of rain at night you can be sure there will be fog in the morning making for some great photo opportunities. The challenge is to find the best place to be before the sun burns the fog off. Above camp there is a great spot to photograph the town of Silverton covered in clearing fog and a few miles to the west there can be a great view of rocky peaks poking through the fog. This morning the sun broke through the pass to the east as soon as it rose and to the west we had this bow of fog. Don't know what it would be called, at one point it started to form a double bow like you would see with a rainbow but with white being the only color.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Silverton Colorado

This is the view from camp outside Silverton Colorado. We have two family's of Canadian Geese and the babies are now almost as big as there parents. There is also at least one Beaver in the pond and in the evening he can be seen climbing the bank into the next pool. The other day there was also a male Bald Eagle flying beyond the pond which does have some Trout. The trout in the pond are small so the other day Craig and Matt went up to a nearby lake and caught enough Rainbow Trout so we could each have one for dinner.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Velocity Basin Snow

Velocity Basin  July 24, 2011

Velocity Basin  June 26, 2012

Got a late start getting to the mountains of Colorado this year and missed the snow. Not only was the snow pack less this year but it started melting much earlier. The above photos show the difference between the snow at Velocity Basin now and the end of July last year. The snow in the high country always makes for more dramatic photographs.
Velocity Basin was where the world record ski run of around 130 miles an hour was set several years ago. It is supposedly where Red Bull built and repaired after avalanches the pipe for Shaun White to practice in.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cinnamon Pass

With the temperatures over 100 degrees in Arizona I'm up in Colorado. Took the jeep trail over Engineers Pass from Silverton to Lake City then back to Silverton over Cinnamon Pass. We came this commercial jeep with a driver that was either the luckiest or unluckiest driver on the mountain. He had around eight people on board when he went off the trail and stopped with his right rear tire wedged against a large rock. It was a long way down from here but everyone got out safely.  This was just the start of the pass and we offered to take some people over the pass to Silverton but no one wanted to go back on the mountain. They were apparently waiting for a ride back to Lake City.

Eagles and Aircraft Carriers

On the last day in Washington our friend drove us out to the beach. I always thought of Seattle being on the ocean but it is on the sound, a long way from the ocean. found this beach that we could drive for miles on and it's resident eagle drying himself off and probably hoping for sun. On the way back we come to this port where there were several aircraft carriers.