Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fall Colors 2014
Saturday & Sunday, September 27-28, 2014

Mount Sopris Alpenglow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Since we had seen some early fall colors in the San Juan Mountains last weekend, we decided to head over into the Elk Mountains this time to check on the fall colors there for my annual Fall Colors weekend. I planned to visit a few locations I have been to before and then try out a few new ones. We left early Saturday and took a late morning drive along Kebler Pass and over Ohio Pass before turning around and heading back out the same way. We then drove over McClure Pass and found a campsite along Prince Creek near Carbondale before continuing up along Capitol Creek to catch the sunset over Capitol Peak (14,130 feet). While there was a little nice evening light when we first arrived, a storm cloud moved in from the west and blocked any light for the rest of the evening. When the sun was down we drove back to camp in the dark. I was expecting it to start raining overnight based on the weather forecasts, but was happy to wake up for sunrise to dry conditions. We caught the sunrise from a nearby location with a beautiful view over Mount Sopris before returning back to camp and taking down our tent. Just after loading everything back into the Jeep it finally started to rain- it was perfect timing! We took another drive back up to McClure Pass and stopped for a few photos along the way before returning to Carbondale for an early lunch at White House Pizza. After lunch we had an uneventful drive home in the rain.

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Fall Colors 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

After work, Diane and I headed up to Piñon Mesa near Glade Park to see how the fall colors were coming along up there. I had actually only been up to this area once before, many years ago, so I wasn’t too familiar with the area. I have heard that it might be a good spot for fall colors close to home and have wanted to get up there in the fall for many years, so it was time to finally do it. While there was still quite a bit of green around, there were also nice patches of yellow aspen trees and even some reds and oranges, too.

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Autumnal Equinox | Fall Colors 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014

After getting home from the San Juan Mountains on Sunday, I turned my attention to photographing local fall colors this week. I did a little research online and found that the colors up on the Grand Mesa were looking pretty good right now, so I decided to head up there after work. I spent much of the evening photographing the colors between Spruce Point, Mesa Lakes and Skyway Point since they were looking pretty good in this area. The clearing clouds from the weekend storms created dynamic lighting conditions and a beautiful magenta sunset. It was a nice way to spend the evening. While I didn’t plan it this way, it just so happens that today was also the autumnal equinox, the official beginning of the fall season, so I guess it’s fitting that I was out photographing fall colors today. Before I get to the photos, I’d also like to point out that this is the 600th trip report posted on this blog!

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Fall Colors 2014
Saturday & Sunday, September 20-21, 2014

On Saturday, Diane and I headed back down to the San Juan Mountains again so we could climb to the top of Courthouse Mountain in the Cimarron’s . While this mountain is short compared to the surrounding peaks in the area at only 12,152 feet, it is uniquely shaped and has over 1,000 feet of vertical prominence. It’s also a very distinguishable peak near Owl Creek Pass that is often photographed, especially in the fall when the surrounding mountainsides are changing colors. I have seen this mountain in the skyline for many years when I would drive to Ouray and Silverton, and decided it was finally time to climb to the top a few weeks ago when I had a different view of it during our hike into Wetterhorn Basin. While there were afternoon storms predicted after 3:00pm today, we didn’t need to get too early of a start for this hike since it’s a relatively short trail, clocking in at just under 2 miles, but it climbs almost 2,000 feet of elevation in that short distance.

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Canyonlands National Park’s 50th Birthday
Friday – Sunday, September 12-14, 2014

So far I’ve had a great year exploring many new areas of Canyonlands National Park. I was finally able to backpack through Salt Creek Canyon in The Needles, which had been a longtime goal of mine and one of the main reasons I started backpacking in the first place. Then I spent a nice weekend in The Maze with Diane and made it to the Maze Overlook and also discovered what a wonderful place Millard Canyon is. We even made it to The Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon on that trip so that Diane was able to view some of the magnificent rock art there for the first time. With all these great trips this year I thought I would try my luck again at completing the White Rim Road in the Island in the Sky, too.

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