This winter turned out unusually dry in Colorado, but I couldn’t have predicted that as I was driving up County Road 5 to Mt. Sneffels in the middle of a winter storm warning last October. I got to my planned campsite without using the hack saw in my back seat to cut through any fallen trees, but the snow was starting to pile up. I thought about my drive in and how many ranchers I saw moving their cattle out. The farmer’s almanac was trying to warn me that old man winter could be starting early this year and in for the long haul. I had snowshoes to trek out, but leaving my car for the rest of the winter didn’t sound good. I decided to cut and run for the comfort of the Ridgway Lodge – a decision that proved very smart. This post is about knowing when to say no.
A night in a heated room and decently comfortable bed was much appreciated, but I had to leave early to get to my intended spot for sunrise. As I drove back up Co Rd 5, I quickly realized that my decision to leave the night before was a blessing. The campsite had been at the end of the road, which this morning was impassible about 2/3 of the way in. I snowshoed in later that afternoon and furthered my appreciation for getting the car out while I could. Below is a picture of me and my “assistant” Maverick at the campsite post-snowstorm.
I didn’t get the shot I had planned that morning, but one even better! Country Road 7 follows the Dallas Creek into one of the most beautiful valleys in the state at the end of the foot of Mt. Sneffels. It was a tad bit past official sunrise, but some extra elevation on the pitch to the left of me created for dramatic shadows across the valley. Best of all, it was just me, my dog, and one other photographer that morning. Rather than trying to find a combination snowcat/tow truck to pull my car out, I was in awe of God’s amazing beauty in the San Juans.