Long-time friend David Wheelock had, in 1989, hiked with his Cousin Tom in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area of central Colorado. On that trip he had seen areas of forest that burned in the 1960s, leaving an eery landscape and fascinating weathering patterns on the trunks of the trees in the burned areas.
Wanting to return to photograph it more, David invited me. Between his cousin and brothers, we borrowed backpacking gear for me. We stayed with his brother Randy and his family in Idaho Springs, Colorado for a couple of days to acclimate, then drove to the end of the access road west of the town of Evergreen.
The only lens I carried on this trip was my 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor.
The hike through the wilderness ascended more than 3000 feet and was physically challenging. We saw many deer and elk, but fortunately no bears.
Our camp site was on the southeast end of Lincoln Lake, a small, snow-fed body of clear water just below the tree line. We camped there two nights. On our second day, David decided he needed a bath, so he picked a small pond below the lake, which he dubbed the “idyllic glade,” and dove in. The water, fed by snow melt, was incredibly cold. After just a few minutes he got out and sunned himself until warm again.
At one point when David was trying to photograph the burned tree trunks and their golden-brown hue, the sun was repeatedly obscured by clouds, resulting in flat, less-colorful light, prompting him to shout, “I’m miserable!”
The shouting must have worked, because the sun parted and he got a spectacular image that now hangs in his living room.
Once we were down from the trail, we drove south to a summer house owned by one of David’s relatives in Villanueva, New Mexico. Our route took us through Cerillos and Madrid, New Mexico, then up to Sandia Peak in time for sunset 5000 feet above Albuquerque. Tired from hiking and driving, once we arrived at the isolated thick, cool adobe house, I slept one of the deepest sleeps I have ever experienced.