Paradox Valley Winter Fog

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Ground fog in western Paradox Valley.

On the morning of January 6 as I was approaching Bedrock, Colorado, I could see that the area of the valley where the Dolores River cuts across the Paradox Valley had a bank of ground fog settled in. With the recent snows and bitter cold and now glorious sunny winter morning, conditions looked ripe to provide some interesting light.

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Highway 90 just east of the fog bank.

I stopped for some shots of the fog bank, with the La Sal Mountains shining with new snow across the Utah state line.

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La Sal Mountains seeming to rise out of the fog bank above Bedrock.

Then it was down into the fog bank. But even at Bedrock it looked like the fog was close to being burned off by the morning sun.

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The Hwy. 90 bridge over the Dolores River.

Passing the historic Bedrock Store, the red rock cliffs had only a tantalizing veil of fog left before them. The Bedrock Store is famous for being the filming location of the pivotal “last phone call” scene in Thelma and Louise. Where Louise said, “Well, we’re not in the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here.”

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The historic Bedrock Store.

Behind the tiny Bedrock Post Office, some crumbling buildings looked interesting with the misty, snowy cliffs in the background.

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Weathered buildings and the cliffs where the Dolores River empties into and across the valley, rather than following it.

Bedrock is where the Dolores River cuts across Paradox Valley, rather than following it. Thus it comes out of one deep red rock gorge, flows across the valley floor, and resumes its way through more gorges on its way to the Colorado River in southeastern Utah. This is the geologic “paradox” that gave the valley its name.

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Hoar frosted cottonwood trees near Paradox, Colorado.

Continuing on to the hamlet of Paradox, I stopped to admire a grove of cottonwood trees flocked with hoar frost, shining in the morning sun, with the north wall of Paradox Valley behind it.

Photo location: Paradox Valley, West End of Montrose County, Colorado.

Enjoy more of my photography at my website: www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2019 Stephen J. Krieg

Return to Summit County

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The Gore Range, from across the Blue River valley.

I found myself with several days off and a restless feeling. After all, it was the Vernal Equinox. Spring. Very early spring, but it’s got to start somewhere.

So rather than sit at home or photograph locally, I decided to commence on a road trip around northwest Colorado.

Eventually I reached Grand County and Summit County, where I long ago worked as a forester. Before I got to Silverthorne, I took a brief side trip to some overlooks that few people know about. They look across the Blue River valley to the Gore Range, one of the most spectacular ranges in the Rockies. I’d done several backpacking trips up into them, the Eagles Nest Wilderness, so long ago. The late afternoon light, breaking up after a snowstorm, was intense. Extreme contrast. I did manage to eke out a couple of splendid panoramas.

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The Blue River Valley, north of Silverthorne, Colorado.

Then it was down into town: Silverthorne, Dillon, and Frisco. I knew it would have been much more built up, being in Colorado Ski Country.

And traffic was bad. The red lights seemed to take forever, each.

It’s a beautiful area, but I probably won’t return. I live in a much more laid back area of the state these days, and being back in ski country only made me appreciate how much better I like where I am.

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Almost home: San Juan Mountains, south of Ridgway, Colorado.

Photo location: Blue River Valley, Summit County, Colorado.

© Copyright 2018 Stephen J. Krieg

Snow Patterns: Colorado High Country

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Rico, Colorado, the historic silver mining town turned Telluride bedroom community.

This post could have been titled: “Snow Patterns, Forests.” Except that it has a bit wider scope.

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Dogwood shrubs on the Dolores River riparian area, San Juan National Forest.

It was up the Dolores River valley, from the town of Dolores (after another juicy, giant hamburger at the Depot) to my favorite Colorado mountain town, Rico (elevation 8,800 feet). Where the Enterprise Bar and Grill was not open (only on weekends during the winter), otherwise I would have had a delicious meal there instead.

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Colorado Blue Spruce sapling, Dolores River.

Rico is surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. As you drive up the Dolores River on Highway 145, much of the access to the river is blocked by private landownership. That is, until you get within the boundaries of the National Forest, where there is much more access.

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Upper Dolores River, only semi frozen in January.

So I stopped to photograph snow-laden shrubs and tree seedlings.

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Dogwood, Dolores River.

Higher up, the patterns of the spruce-fir forest from across the valley attracted my attention.

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Snowy Spruce-Fir forest above Rico, Colorado.

And stands of aspen trees, too.

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Aspen forest during a winter storm, San Juan National Forest.

Then I was startled to see a herd of elk on the hillside above the highway. Why? Because they were yet another indication of how little snow has fallen up here so far this winter. Normally the elk would be much lower, down out of the high country. But not yet.

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Elk herd, way higher in elevation for January than normal. 

Soon I was all the way up to Lizard Head Pass. My favorite area. For the high mountain meadows and clear alpine streams. And for the lofty mountain peaks…that were shrouded in clouds on this visit.

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Alpine meadows at Lizard Head Pass. 

Photo location: San Juan National Forest and Uncompahgre National Forest, southwest Colorado.

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Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,222 feet (3,116 meters).

See much more of my photography, and order prints, at my website www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2018 Stephen J. Krieg

Lipan Point at Sunset, Grand Canyon

Woman enjoys sunset in Grand Canyon

Lipan Point on Grand Canyon’s South Rim has sweeping views, including being able to see a portion of the Colorado River far below. At sunset time the canyon bottom is in shadow, while the cliffs called the Palisades of the Desert are still lit up by the low sun.

Photo location: Lipan Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

Grand Canyon: Lees Ferry River Panorama

Panorama, Lees Ferry, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Lees Ferry on the Colorado River in northern Arizona is where all boats running Grand Canyon put in to the river. From here the boats have to go the whole way down before they can come back off the river.

Lees Ferry is also one of the most scenic and historic spots in the American Southwest. A natural break in the cliffs allows access by road, off of Highway 89A at nearby Marble Canyon, on the Arizona Strip. On the east side of the river are the Echo Cliffs (visible across the river at center and left), on the west the even taller Vermilion Cliffs, which in this photo are visible in the purple-haze distance at far right.

In this three-shot merged panorama photo, professional river guides with Canyoneers, Inc. are rigging up their boats for another two week oar trip through Grand Canyon National Park. Canyoneers, out of Flagstaff, Arizona, is the oldest Grand Canyon river running company.

At far left is the historic wooden cataract boat the Sandra, the last boat built by Norman Nevills, who invented commercial river running as Nevills Expedition, the company from which present-day Canyoneers is descended, celebrating 75 years of continuous operation in 2013. The orange boats are modern 18-foot inflated rubber Avon rafts. Thus a Canyoneers oar trip is an experience in Grand Canyon river running history, with modern safety and relative convenience for such a world class wilderness trip.

[Click on the image to view a much larger version]

Location: Lees Ferry, Colorado River, Marble Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona

Grand Canyon: Unkar Rapid

Running Unkar Rapid on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

Unkar Rapid is not one of the largest rapids in Grand Canyon, but it is one of the most scenic, with wide open views. Enjoy a refreshing minute on the river, with sun and water in your face!

Chino Valley, First Arizona Capital

Del Rio Springs historical monument, Chino Valley, Arizona

This monument along Highway 89 in the central Arizona highlands is near the site of Camp Whipple, an Army Calvary post at which the first territorial government of Arizona was established in 1864. It’s located just north of the town of Chino Valley in Yavapai County, about 15 miles north of the present county seat, Prescott.

The historical marker reads:

“Del Rio Springs / Site of original Camp Whipple / Established December 1863 / From January 22 to May 18, 1864 the offices of the Territorial government of Arizona were operated from tents and log cabins here before being moved to Prescott, the first permanent capital.”

Lonesome Valley Sunset

Sunset, Lonesome Valley, Arizona

Lonesome Valley. Such an evocative name. The locals don’t use that name for this portion of the Prescott Basin in the Central Arizona Highlands, because it’s no longer as lonesome as it must have been to whatever settler coined the name, perhaps back in the late 1800s.

But there is still lots of wide open country and big-sky views here. Ranches and National Forest land. The Black Hills to the east and upper Verde River to the north.

Lonesome Valley. It suits me fine.

Yavapai County, Arizona