Showing posts from August, 2014

Mountain Lion Loop - Unfamiliar Territory

Mountain Lion Loop "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." ~ John Wayne One day this summer, we left the safety and comfort of our hearth and headed into the high country. We logged an out and back at Mountain Lion Loop on a warm August afternoon. It was unfamiliar territory, a land where uncowardly lions leap from pine tree limbs. Fortunately, such a frightful encounter never transpired. Instead, we found flowers, butterflies and bluebirds. Up out of Golden, the gorgeous meadows were gushing with greens and yellows. It was a glorious day in the mountains. We continued ever further, leaving behind the crowds and cell service. We faced our fear with a faith that we would enjoy a triumphant return. Beyond the crest, we strayed from the path and made a risky, cross-country romp out to a scary cliff edge. Under a cloudless sky, the perch overlooked a quiet creek where white rocks were bleached by the scorching sun. Regaining the right track, our u

St. Vrain Mountain Trail - An Epic Journey

The Mantlepiece of Mountain Gods I heard the stories about a remote trailhead and a hidden pathway to a secret Shangri-la located high above the treeline. Ignored by serious climbers and unknown to tourists, the St. Vrain Mountain Trail is an epic journey to a world I thought existed only in mythology. Below, an ancient grove of aspen was a natural cathedral of air and light. Up, we followed a rocky creek and climbed a steep stairwell of endless switchbacks. The snow became a formidable obstacle and almost halted our expedition. With dogged determination, we pushed on and soon entered the land above the trees. As we crossed a shelf of tundra, a spectacular explosion of incredible mountain scenery was suddenly detonated. I'd never seen so many beautiful peaks crowded together in one frame. Stopped dead in our tracks, the landscape was mesmerizing. Each lofty summit and crooked ridge seemed to beg for the photographer's attention. Veiled in braids of white snow, the vi

Longs Peak - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Longs Peak" Colored Pencil In an eerie breeze, obedient aspen quake with fright before their dark master. Longs Peak is a purple monster streaked with passages of resilient white snow. The Rocky Mountain monarch dwells in an enchanted woodland threaded with creeks, wildflowers and waterfalls. A trek to the top begins with a march to the Boulderfield. Above treeline, the alpine environment is distinguished by treacherous terrain and spectacular scenery. Proceed with caution through the magical Keyhole, up into the steep Trough and across the frightening Narrows. A quick scramble up the final Ramp and you're at the football-field sized summit. The struggle for glory is rewarded with bitter cold, ferocious wind and an indescribable illness. At such an inhospitable altitude, the weather will almost certainly take a turn. Now, the weary traveler must be ever cautious because the bitter rock revels in its dangerous decline. Follow landmarks that lead into the protec

Sneffels Range Summer - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Sneffels Range Summer" Colored Pencil Last summer, we attended a Saturday evening service at the altar of one of the world's finest cathedrals. Located in southwest Colorado, the Sneffels Mountains are a divine sub-range of the scenic San Juans. This chain of volcanic peaks may be one of the most beautiful landscapes in the west and probably my favorite place on the planet. This country of blues and greens is an oasis before the vast sea of desert that extends into the void. A magnificent mesa of brush-covered hills tumbles south until it crashes into a wall of steep rock while a patch of dark piƱon is blended into the soft, red dirt. Below, a meadow of hay is enclosed by a row of crooked cottonwoods. The heavenly divide emerges out of a soft, blue sky like a dream as the evening light permeates the purple peaks, creating a broken gradient from orange to violet. The clear, dry air evokes a transcendent luminosity that can be found nowhere else on earth so a pale

Blue Lakes - A Land of Rock and Ice

Blue Lakes, Colorado During the first part of the journey, we looked at all the life. There were plants and goats and marmots and things. Blue Lakes was a cool pond of icy indigo stair-stepped in a deep moraine. After a while, we were dwarfed by a massive summit called Quandary. We continued through the mountains hiking towards a peak with no name. It felt good to be climbing without pain. Further up, unstable snowfields slid into the transparent lake. We listened to the chirping of marmot calls. The eerie echo ricocheted between steep canyon walls. A chilly breeze skimmed snowy peaks. It funneled across the lake delivering an arctic blast. The thawing ice sheets were shattered into frosty shards of floating glass. Pouring down from a headwall, the creek became a rush. Crossing through frigid water cut like a knife. Granite, gray giants enclosed the valley in an austere tomb of rock and ice. To the chaos and confusion below. We returned from the peace and quiet above. Un