|"Chicago Basin" Colored Pencil|
It's a warm day in Colorado's Front Range where a dense thicket of sharp willows forms an almost impassable barrier. You must search for a narrow passageway that leads into the heart of this spectacular wilderness. At the top of Chicago Basin, dark evergreens and a gigantic boulder mark a natural gateway to the incomparable Chicago Lakes. Here, the tundra landscape opens up to a panorama of expansive, gray peaks.
The pair of icy-blue ponds are stair-stepped remnants of an ancient glacier that shaped this high valley thousands of years ago. Today, the deep cirque is lush with golden grass and colorful wildflowers. Long, transparent shadows creep down the hillside defining forms in the rugged terrain while steep rock walls enclose the area with a sense of isolation and solitude.
Harmless, wispy clouds drift down over the foothills and just beyond the sheer headwall, Mount Evans pierces the wide open sky. Warm rays of sunshine are neutralized by an ever-present breeze of cool air. Reddish-violet in the morning light, the mountain is still flecked with white snow. After such a long, hard winter, I'm looking forward to summertime in the Rockies.