Trinity Peaks at Sunset
Trinity Peaks at Sunset, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
In the summer of 2015 I finally embarked on a rugged backpacking trip in the Weminuche Wilderness that I had wanted to do for years. My route crossed three high passes and didn’t traverse a constructed, maintained trail until near the end of my seventh and last day. I started at Needleton, a whistle stop on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, but instead of taking the heavily traveled route to Chicago Basin, I went north, then east, following the faint, arduous track that leads to Ruby Basin. After one night in Ruby Basin I crossed the Ruby-Noname saddle, descended easy tundra slopes and open forest, then struggled through head-high willows for the last 200 feet of descent into the Noname Creek valley. That same day I hiked up the valley to a spectacular campsite just below Jagged Mountain. After two nights in the Noname Creek valley, I crossed the Peak Five-Peak Six saddle in a steady rain and descended to Balsam Lake. After one night there, I crossed the Vestal-West Trinity saddle and descended into Vestal Basin for my final two nights. I had camped in Vestal Basin once before. During that trip I had discovered a rich series of wildflower meadows around timberline. I relocated them on this trip and was delighted to see that they were just as beautiful as when I had found them more than 10 years before. Unfortunately, a voracious band of mountain goats mowed down some of the most photogenic groups of columbine before I could photograph them. Fortunately, the goats overlooked the columbine and Parry’s clover in this idyllic alpine garden long enough for me to photograph the wildflowers and the Trinity Peaks at sunset.