The San Juans, La Platas and back East Robert Leverett
July 21, 2009


      I am in the process of sorting through an intimidatingly large number of photos I took on Monica's and my just concluded western adventure - while concurrently accumulating new images. Sweeping western panoramas and cozy eastern woodland scenes are being featured today. 
     The first image is astraddle the continental divide at Lobo Lookout in the San Juans. The location is at about 11,500 feet altitude and looks into the vast Weminuche Wilderness of southwestern Colorado. The San Juans include more land above 10,000 feet than any other mountain range in the lower 48 states. The mountains are well watered so that the forests are unusually lush for the Rocky Mountains.
     The second image is of an idyllic mountain meadow framed against the backdrop of 12,000-foot peaks in the La Platas. The La Platas are a subrange of the San Juans. As seen in the image, tiny patches of snow hang on in the higher elevations. The La Platas are relatively unknown to mountain aficionados, but offer plenty of remote country and spectacular forests that include the tallest accurately measured Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine and tallest Colorado blue spruce on the planet. A total of 6 peaks (I think) exceed 13,000 feet with Hesperus Mountain being the highest at 13,232 feet. Alas, no charismatic fourteeners here, but that does not matter to devoted mountain lovers. the La Platas rise boldly above the Durango area. 
      The last two scenes are in the Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area, a 10-minute walk from our house here in Florence, MA. Cattails along the boardwalk and sunlight through the white pines suggest the intimacy of the settings. The lake likes beyond the trees. With all the summer rain, the plant life in Fitzgerald is luxuriant. Nature has organized her bounty into compact communities. There is nothing overpowering in Fitzgerald, but the intimacy of the plant communities is quite satisfying. Bird life is abundant and nature is slowly healing past timbering excesses. The area includes over 600 acres of preserved forest.


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