Snow Mesa Thunderstorm

A small alpine pond on Snow Mesa. The Colorado Trail Foundation’s guidebook describes it as an “expanse”, which is totally accurate - when you are on top, every direction is a wide open expanse above treeline, with now way out other than following the trail. Shortly after this photo, dark clouds rolled in and we were caught in a thunderstorm there. With no cover whatsoever, the only real option was to throw on rain gear and move forward as fast as we could. We spread apart to reduce the risk of a single lighting strike, sang Britney Spears as loud as we could (we do this a lot in storms), and kept going.

For my money, this was the scariest situation we’d ever hiked in. We got off the mesa soaked to the bone and incredibly relieved to be under treeline. Just ahead of us, we saw movement in trees. There were dozens of elk - an entire herd, coming out of the forest and following a leader up a different route to the the top of the mesa. We’d wanted to see elk all our hike and here was a whole heard of them, right in front of us.

Published on April 9, 2017

Taken with a FUJIFILM X100T

23 mm focal length 1/680″ at f/14 ISO 400