Believe it or not I actually live in Colorado. You might not know this if you've been reading my blog because all I have been writing about is China, Cambodia and Iceland as well as some other random things here and there. Well, I do live here and I do actually go out hiking and photographing. One of my goals when I started this blog was to use it as motivation to edit and get my new work out there. So, while I am working on my next series (Washington, Oregon, northern California) I am going to be writing a few "mini" posts about some small-scale adventures that I've had.
This first mini post is all about one of my new favorite hikes in the Boulder/Denver/Front Range area of Colorado. The destination was Lake Dorothy. It's accessed from the Fourth of July Trailhead just outside of Nederland, Colorado and at 12,061 feet above sea level it is the highest named lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. I've actually had the pleasure of visiting this lake twice, the first time in June of 2015 and most recently at the end of August 2016. As you will see, just a two month difference can make all of the difference in terms of terrain, snow cover and condition of the lake itself.
As with most hikes in the front range, the trail starts out by going up! You keep walking up, past a pretty cool waterfall, and depending on the time of year little rivulets traversing the trail. After about a mile and a half you finally break through treeline and are greeted with this view of Mt. Neva Caribou Pass. If you look really really closely (and know what you're looking for) you can actually see the trail climbing towards the ridge right in the middle of the photo.
Mt. Neva (Left); Caribou Pass (Center)
Continuing up the ramp-like trail you finally get to Caribou pass. If you were to continue walking straight ahead you would tumble down the other side of the pass right down to Caribou lake. As you are about to see, I found this spot to be particularly photogenic and happened to capture some similar photos from both trips
Caribou Lake from Caribou Pass, June 2015
Caribou Lake from Caribou Pass, August 2016
Panorama of the Caribou Lake basin, June 2015
Panorama of the Caribou Lake basin, August 2016
Lake Dorothy is only a short distance from Caribou pass. It sits in a cirque just below Mt. Neva. Now based on the photos you just saw you can probably infer that when I arrived in June the surface of the lake was less than liquid. It also happened that it was pretty windy up there and the conditions weren't the most inviting for hanging around. The complete opposite is true from my August trip. Warm sun, calm conditions and a beautiful blue sky not only make the hanging out conditions great, but the photographs were pretty alright too.
While the conditions could not have been more different I still think that the photos of both are really fun. Together they show just how drastically the climate can differ when you are at such a high altitude. I'm curious though, how do you guys feel about the two different sets of photos? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Before we depart, I do want to leave you with one last beautiful image of the Rocky Mountain high country. Even at this altitude, wildflowers thrive for a short period of time. Here is a photo of a small patch of alpine forget-me-nots, each bloom about half the size of my pinky nail.
I hope you enjoyed this mini post, and if you did please subscribe below and I'll let you know when my next one is coming out (no spam I promise).
Until the next time,
If you enjoyed any of the photos in this post, you can purchase a print of many of them HERE.