Tim, James and I spent a couple nights in Blue Lakes Basin a couple weeks ago. Can't think of a better place than the San Juans to spend for the last weekend of the summer! The Sneffels Wilderness is one of the most beautiful and lush places in Colorado. It's growing in popularity, but still a good distance from Denver so the crowds are kept down a bit in comparison. It was very close to (maybe just past) prime time for the wildflowers.
The weather was rainy for most of the trip. There were periods where the sky cleared, making for some awesome photo ops. The first morning I hiked up to the middle blue lake for sunrise, which was covered with clouds. No color to be had, but beautiful none the less.
|"S4" and Middle Blue Lake|
I waited here until Tim met me on the trail. A short period of rain came and went, so we decided to head up toward Blue Lakes Pass to see how far we could go. We had faint hopes of summiting Gilpin Peak, but soon realized the weather would foil the plan. There were a few parties who were able to summit Sneffels that day, but we were not as motivated as they were.
We reached the pass as the clouds danced around us, lifting at times to see into Yankee Boy Basin. After a picnic of trail mix, we headed back down.
|Gilpin Peak (left) from near the pass|
|Mt. Sneffels - southwest ridge route from Blue Lakes Pass|
|Yankee Boy Basin from Blue Lakes Pass|
|Upper Blue Lake|
|Upper Blue Lake looking up at Black Tops|
Once back at the lower Blue Lake where we were camped, the sun finally came out:
|Wildflowers where abundant|
In the afternoon, I hiked up the hill to the east of the lake to see if I could get a shot of Sneffels with Blue Lake in the same frame. As I was hiking up, a cantaloupe sized rock came flying down the hill from somewhere on the high peaks above. It whizzed past me right through where I was standing only seconds ago. That will get the heart pumping. I didn't have a helmet or even think I'd need one. I had no idea I was anywhere near a rockfall area. A good lesson to always bring the helmet if the terrain is steep, even below treeline.
I woke again the next morning before dawn and hiked up to the same location at the middle Blue Lake. I found a thick field of wildflowers the previous morning. I hoped the sky would be clear enough to let some light through to the peak. This was the shot I'd planned the whole trip around. It was a glorious sunrise. These sights are what make all the effort and discomfort worth it. I praised the Lord as I sat witnessing His masterpiece. Pictures are pretty, but never the same as the real thing.
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