Doug Beezley Photography | Colorado Wildflowers & High Basins - July 2015

July 2015 found me heading up two back-back photo tours to Colorado on behalf of LightChase Photography Tours. The first focused on the Crested Butte area ("Wildflower Capital of Colorado") and the high basins of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The second immediately followed the first but focused solely on the San Juans.

I developed the itineraries, made all the vendor arrangements (hotels, restaurants, jeep company, rental cars) and generally managed both groups of photographers. Along the way, I was more than ably aided in the San Juans by Brian Simpson. Brian teaches engineering at Montrose High School in Montrose, Colorado and is an absolute expert "jeep" driver, guide and mountain historian.

Late spring snow and a very wet spring and early summer made the wildflowers in the Crested Butte area about the best I have seen in the past ten years and the sunflowers absolutely exploded in every location. The lushness of every mountain-side and meadow was absolutely stuning. Conditions in the San Juans were much the same but the weather presented some real challenges with daily rain, heavy overcast skies, hail and even snow above 12,000 feet one day. Just your average July day in the San Juans!

While Crested Butte is my favorite Colorado mountain town, the mighty San Juan Mountains are special among all the mountains of Colorado because they bring together several of my special interests - mining history, railroad history, rugged wilderness, and endless wildflowers. During our time in the San Juans I took the two groups of photographers to the following basins: American Basin, Silver Basin, Governor Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, Storm King Basin as well as to a couple of special locations - the south saddle of Red Mountain #3 and the Blue Lakes Trailhead Meadow at the end of Ouray County Road 7. Other locations traveled and photographed include Corkscrew Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Animas Forks, California Pass, California Gulch, Grey Copper Gulch, Cunningham Gulch and Silverton for the arrival of the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

You would think that having spent nearly three weeks in such prime locations that I would have an abundance of images to share. You won't see evidence of all those locations in this gallery - in some I was just too involved assisting the photographers. In one (Governor Basin), I was surprised by close and long-time friends from Durango who were waiting in Governor to surprise me. They did - and what a great surprise it was. And, in other locations I was just enjoying the day too much to be bothered with a camera. I hope you enjoy our journey to the wildflowers and high basins of Colorado.

Red Mountain #3 from Hurricane Pass
Cunningham Gulch Columbines
Black Bear Panoramic +
"Ricky" & "Bobby" Falls
Stormy Black Bear
Lake Fork of The Gunnison +
"Follow the Yellow Brick Road"
The Wide View +
Pretty in Pink
Red Mountain #2 Panorama +
Grey Copper Gulch +
Above California Pass
Storm King Basin Panorama +
Below Storm King Basin
Silver Creek Cascades
Sneffels Falls
Below the Falls
Yankee Boy Garden
Yankee Boy Garden - Horizontal Version +
"Mary Jane" in Yankee Boy
Corkscrew Gulch +
Cloudy Grey Copper Gulch +
The View Toward California Gulch +
Lake Como
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