Sunday, October 6, 2013
After another cold night in the San Juan Mountains camped below Whipple Mountain and high above the San Miguel River I was up before the sun and had my camp loaded in the Jeep while it was still dark. When darkness transitioned to light I had a great view of the San Miguel Mountains.
A blanket of color below Dolores Peak in the soft dawn light before sunrise.
A well-defined Earth Shadow creeps down the sky above Little Cone.
The first light of the day strikes the unmistakable Lizard Head Peak.
Early morning light on the iconic Wilson Peak.
When the sun was up and I was done taking photos I got back in my Jeep and started my journey from the mountains to the desert of southern Utah. I would make a few stops along the way…
An old fence among a grove of colorful aspen trees.
A view through the forest.
Amazing fall colors beyond an old rustic cabin I passed on Last Dollar Road.
Soon I dropped back down along the San Miguel River and followed it up over Lizard Head Pass where I started following the Dolores River further south and west. Shortly before reaching the small town of Rico, I spotted a nice grove of golden aspen trees and hiked among them for a while.
The sun peeks through the trees.
When I reached Rico, I noticed a patch of yellow leaves still surrounded by plenty of green behind the historic Atlantic Cable Head-frame.
I found a few other nice pockets of fall color beyond Rico.
I also stopped at this small pond that reflected the dead trees bathed in sunlight on the other side nicely.
Before reaching Dolores I spotted this hillside exploding with color.
When I reached Dolores I stopped following the Dolores River and made my way south to Cortez where I grabbed some lunch and arranged to meet Marty, who had spent the weekend in the San Rafael Swell, at the Hatch Trading Post in a few hours. From Cortez I followed McElmo Canyon into Utah.
Just before crossing the state line into Utah, I made one last stop near the Ismay Trading Post to visit a nice petroglyph panel.
We couldn’t have timed our meeting any better since we both pulled up to the Hatch Trading Post at the exact same time. After catching up for a short time we drove into Montezuma Canyon in search of The Ancients.
We stopped at a few rock art panels that Marty had not seen before and I certainly didn’t mind photographing them again.
Then we hiked to a large panel of pictographs that I’ve been searching for for quite a while. There are a lot of faint handprints, anthropomorphs and other designs found here.
We also stopped to visit a Great House that I had not been to before. There wasn’t much to see aside from the foundation, but there were potsherds everywhere.
I’ve wanted to get back to the Honeycomb Granary for some time and made sure to get there on this trip.
Another new petroglyph panel that I had not seen before.
This small granary was nearby.
We made one last stop at the Three Kiva Pueblo before finding a place to camp for the night. It would be nice to finally be camping in a little warmer weather than I had the previous two nights!