Doug Beezley Photography | Colorado - Crested Butte & San Juan Basins - July 2010

Along with a group of friends I spent not nearly enough time in several of the high mountain basins of the San Juan and Elk Mountain ranges of Colorado in July 2010. The trip was officially a tour with LightChase Photography but I managed to "weasel" a special role by acting as "location consultant" for the tour.

It was clearly a case of careful manipulation that,once again, proved that old age, experience, and guile will overcome youth and enthusiasm. Clearly, Mark Rasmussen (owner of LightChase Photography) was naive about dealing with seasoned veterans (another name for old guys) when he asked me to put together a tour that I would like friends to experience, photograph and enjoy. Let the fun begin!

What I put together included locations I have previously enjoyed (Paradise Basin, American Basin, Silver Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, "Secret" Basin, and Governor Basin) along with a location that I have long wanted to visit - Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake.

Our photo experience began in Crested Butte which is nestled between the Elk Mountains and the West Elk Mountains. Crested Butte enjoys the reputation of being "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado" and it continues to earn that reputation. After enjoying and photographing select locations in the Crested Butte area for a couple of days we journeyed over Ohio Pass, past "The Castles" and along the shores of Blue Mesa Lake until we ended up in the Cimarron River valley on our way to our eventual destination, Ouray.

Once in Ouray, our real adventure began. We left the driving to our destinations in the hands of the experts of San Juan Jeep Tours and one of their supremely skilled drivers, Brian Simpson. Brian not only handled the driving chores flawlessly but also added to our daily excursions with his thorough and interesting historical narrative about the San Juan region.

Our destinations included a sunrise trip to Molas Lake, a sunset shoot at Dallas Divide, a fantastic day at American Basin after passing over rugged Cinnamon Pass, a journey to Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake and all its waterfalls and little streams, "Secret" Basin where we experienced a lot of unexpected visitors, the seldom-visited Silver Basin which features two turquoise-colored lakes, a dramatic backwall and a living rock glacier, Governor Basin (where I "chickened out" in driving a rental SUV the previous year - excellent decision, by the way) which, to me seems as mysterious as Machu Picchu. Governor is, however, much higher by over 4,000 feet, than the mountain-top in Peru. Finally, our tour ended with a trip to the famous but overly popular Yankee Boy Basin where the crowds can be avoided by traveling to the upper reaches of the basin at the Blue Lakes trailhead. The pinnacle of our experience was a trip to the summit of Red Mountain #3 where we were literally "On Top of the World". I hope you enjoy our photographic journey.

Crested Butte Overview +
The Dyke
Ruby Mountain
Gothic Mountain
Gothic Mountain
Gothic Mountain Lupine
Crystal Clear
Washington Gulch
Washington Gulch Reflections
Backlit Sunflower
Paradise Basin and Mt. Baldy +
Sunset in Paradise Basin
Paradise Sunset
Sunrise Over The Elk Mountains
Morning Lupine
Blue Lupine and Sunrise
Sunflowers, Lupine and Gothic Mountain
Gothic Sunrise
Gothic Lupine
Sunrise on Gothic Mountain
The East River & The Elk Mountains
The East River +
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