"Are you afraid of heights?" my driver asked as we wound our way up into the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Actually I was more afraid of the old Chevy Suburban we were in, wondering how it would make it over the boulders that loomed in front of us or be able to avoid plummeting down the 1,000 foot drop-offs. Once I learned that the car had been tricked out for rock-crawling, and that my 85 year old driver spent most of his life in 4 wheel drive, I stopped gasping at every turn. I was spending a week in Silverton, a town with a rich mining history, popular today for its rugged scenery, expert skiing and backcountry jeep trails. We were driving over Cinnamon Pass to American Basin, a remote location at the base of 14,000 foot Handies Peak. Although I wanted to take pictures along the way, there was no stopping on the narrow road unless there was a turnout (generous terminology) to allow people coming from the other direction to inch past us without prematurely going to their reward.
The mix of wildflowers in American Basin is delightful. I found this charming little garden in the midst of an enormous field of flowers. The dainty blue chiming bells frame pink Indian paintbrush and yellow tansy aster.
Colorado's beautiful state flower, blue columbine, is pictured here with yellow alpine avens.
Later in the week, I went up to the Continental Divide for a planned sunset shot on Stony Pass. I gave up on that idea when I saw that the overlook had little cloud cover and wasn't shaping up as a great shot. I had already turned around and started my descent, when I saw this meadow full of flowers backlighted by the setting sun. A little bit of luck and good timing led to my favorite shot from the trip.