Ready for a High Altitude Dip?

Alpine Puddle

Here’s another photo from the archives, taken high in the Colorado Rockies.

Despite that this was mid-summer, much of the winter and spring snow remained in the crevasses above timberline. That day we climbed three 14,000-ft-plus mountains, fortunate that the weather cooperated and never threatened us with the dangerous lightning that is common at this height in summer. (Yes, I have had to crouch on one foot in the midst of lightning storms where there is no shelter, high in the mountains. It is not an activity I recommend, and I now avoid it at all costs.)

The weather may have been perfect, but the trail conditions weren’t so accommodating. Our boots were intermittently heavy with moisture from stepping in slushy piles of dirty, thawing snow. (The nearby peaks offer a glimpse of what we were hiking in.) This little puddle is all that remains from one of those slushy piles, a pristine mirror of the blue sky and fair weather cumulus clouds overhead. Despite my fatigue from ascending mountains in such rarefied air, I had to stop to capture the ephemeral alpine pond. Are you ready to take off your shoes and dip a toe—no, an entire foot!—in the icy water?

As usual, editing done in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.

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