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San Juan Mountains, Colorado: Day 2: Yankee Boy Basin and Blue Lakes Pass


San Juan Mountains, Colorado: Day 2: Yankee Boy Basin and Blue Lakes Pass

Joe Rossbach

Marsh Marigolds below Potosi Peak at sunset, Yankee Boy Basin

It was a long day. After shooting in Clear Lake Basin, I made my way down the rocky and rutted 4x4 track and dropped into Silverton for gas and coffee. After fumbling around town for an hour or so, I drove up to Grand Junction to pick up clients. 

We then set our sites on getting back down to the San Juans. The monsoon was in full effect and we watched huge cumulonimbus clouds building across the mountains rising from the surrounding desert landscape like granite skyscrapers. Our destination was Yankee Boy Basin tonight and we arrived in the lower basin and found a great little camp site nestled in a stand of small Spruce tree's. After setting up camp, we lounged in camp for a couple of hours before driving the 4x4 track to the upper basin and just below Mount Sneffels to the Blue Lakes Pass trailhead.

At 12,2000 feet the trail crosses a rocky slope of Mount Sneffells before steeply climbing a steep ridge towards 13,000 foot Blue Lakes Pass. After about 45 minutes of huffing and puffing in the thin air we arrived at the pass to a spectacular sight of mountains stretching in a 180 degree view. To our backs the hulking rocky form of Mount Sneffels rises to 14,150 above. I climbed this peak back in 2005. 

Self Portrait at 13,100 feet, Blue Lakes Pass

After a session of photography at the pass and with the clouds beginning to look like they will be better from the basin, we hurried down the trail to the truck just in time to drive only a 1/4 mile down the 4x4 track to catch this view of Potosi Peak surrounded by lush Marsh Marigolds.

I hope you guys are enjoying the stories and images from the trip! I have much more to come over the next week, so stay tuned. If you like this image and the story, be sure to hit the like button and share it with your friends on Facebook!

We've just released a new 8 day, 7 night photo/camping tour of these majestic mountain for next summer. Limited to an intimate group of 5 photographers -