Water and Wildflowers (Arapaho National Forest)

Water, life, desert, death, an entire family of ecosystems cover our planet, none comfort me the way a granite mountain range can.
— George Barnett

Colorado has become an annual getaway for me over the past three years. I've chiseled out 1-2 week adventures in the remote areas of the Rocky Mountains and other beautiful mountain ranges that this incredibly wild state has to offer. You can leave the 21st century behind pretty quickly in some areas, where my mind and soul are better off anyways. This year, I ended up in the deep interior of the Arapaho National Forest, outside the small town of Georgetown, Colorado (population 1,060 as of 2016).

After spending three days out in the burning hot Canyon country of Utah, I made a shameless retreat back east to Colorado's snow fed mountains. I decided on spending the remainder of my week in Arapaho National Forest, hiking and backpacking the many beautiful lake trails.

Murray Lake

Murray Lake

The best reading material in the backcountry

The best reading material in the backcountry

Photo by: The humble man who offered/gave me a ride up the 4x4 road to the Silver Dollar lake TH

Photo by: The humble man who offered/gave me a ride up the 4x4 road to the Silver Dollar lake TH

Naylor Lake

Naylor Lake

I can't quite put into words the feelings I have while being out in this wilderness, alone with the wildflowers, ptarmigan, elk, marmot and bighorn sheep. Glacier fed springs surrounding me on every corner and slope of the mountain, sudden drifts of wind, sunshine and incredibly fresh air. My head remained clear and life became simple again, I hiked where my feet wanted to take me, ate when I wanted with what view I wanted. I slept on meadows in granite arenas, using the moonlit lakes as a source of ambient light (once the headlamp was off). The morning rituals were slow, starting with coffee and ending with licorice, the sun rising once again, to give me the energy to hike to the next place I'll call camp.

(Prior to my solo adventures in Canyonlands NP and Arapaho National Forest) I also spent some time in Colorado with one of my favorite guys, Robert Mudd. He made the move out to Denver in the middle of Spring this year and is loving every minute of it (except maybe having to sleep on his friends floor). But Robert makes do, like all passionate minded folks have over the years. When we weren't jamming to The Greatful Dead, we were hiking. We drove the hour and change to Guanella Pass from Denver and hiked up to the summit of Mt. Bierstadt. Our hopes and intentions once we reached the summit of Bierstadt, was to hike along the Saw Tooth ridge over to the summit of Mt. Evans. However, when me made the summit of Bierstadt, we knew our weather window was all too short this time. The storm clouds were climbing over Grays & Torreys Peak, towards us. Robert and myself made the decision to bag the Saw Tooth another day, so we began hiking back down after some snacks and a well absorbed view. Once we reached the car (after storm dodging like bunnies the last 2 miles), our minds were on one thing & one thing only. Lunch.

Photo by: Robert Mudd

Photo by: Robert Mudd

All images are shot with 35mm color films.