Thursday, July 17, 2014

West Maroon to Hasley Pass Loop

Set the alarm for 5 a.m. today to get out on the West Maroon Trail with Josh Futterman.  We were hunting wildflowers, and were fortunate to see plenty of them and more.

Sunrise on Red Lady
The great views started before we even got to the trail, with the first rays of dawn striking Red Lady as overnight mist hung in the valley.

Morning Mist on East River
The same mist clung tenaciously to the East River as the sky continued to brighten.

West Maroon Trail
Cascades along the Crystal River were brightened by some "God rays" streaming through the thick trees.

Wildflowers on West Maroon Trail
The early morning sun provided some dramatic lighting for cow parsnip and heartleaf arnica.

Wildflowers on West Maroon Trail
The wildflowers didn't so much need to be hunted as just savored.  Once we rose above the trees the lower alpine meadows were simply blanketed with them.

Wildflowers on Hasley Pass Trail
The flowers thinned as we gained elevation, but the scenery was no less stunning.

Hasley Pass Trail
This was unquestionably the greenest part of the state I'd ever seen, thanks to both heavy winter snow and strong summer monsoons.

Hasley Pass Trail
Josh took his share of pictures as well for his Travel Crested Butte web site, with his faithful companion Ivan right alongside.

Hasley Pass Basin
The basin was gorgeous, with Snowmass Mountain rising dramatically in the background.

Hasley Pass Summit
Josh climbed above the pass to see if he could catch a glimpse of Capitol Peak.  I was content to stay right where I was.

We struggled a bit to follow the map and guidebook, having to double back three times after getting off trail and eventually bushwhacking our way back down.  The 5.5-mile hike ended up being closer to 6.5 as a result.  But it was completely worth it!

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