Mike and me
      Silverton, Colorado
      July 5, 2009

      Mike, Ally, and I took a wonderful road trip for the Fourth of July weekend. We spent two nights in Durango, and also visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Black Canyon National Park, and many great spots along the way. We hiked, ate great food, listened to concerts in the street, and watched fireworks over the river in Durango.

      I took lots of photos, some with my Canon G10, and some with my Canon 5D. Mostly we just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of western Colorado. It’s truly beautiful out there.

      Great Sand Dunes National Park
      Our first stop was Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was Ally’s first beach-like experience!

      Great Sand Dunes National Park
      My family is cute.

      Great Sand Dunes National Park
      Me and Ally

      Rainstorm at Great Sand Dunes National Park
      There was a big storm on the horizon!

      Great Sand Dunes National Park

      Great Sand Dunes National Park
      Unfortunately the approaching storm gave us only about 30 minutes to explore the dunes. It was a gorgeous park that we’ll have to visit again sometime.


      We headed west through San Luis Valley into the San Juan mountains.


      We stopped on the side of the road so I could take pictures of the evening light hitting this fence.

      Sunset over Pagosa Springs
      I did a lot of drive-by shooting. This was a lake in Pagosa Springs.

      Chimney Rock sunset in Colorado
      Sunset over Chimney Rock


      We spent the night in Durango, and then found this cool flag mural the next morning. Happy 4th of July!


      Ally wasn’t allowed into Durango’s Independence Day street festival, so the three of us had a picnic in a park nearby.

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      We spent the afternoon exploring Missionary Ridge, thousands of feet above Durango.

      Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      We found a meadow high above town, which was a perfect spot for a Fraulein Maria moment.

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      The wildflowers are exquisite this time of year.

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      These appear to be wild irises, perhaps?

      Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      Beautiful Ally at Missionary Ridge

      Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      I want to come back and camp in this meadow sometime. I loved it.

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Wildflowers at Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Aspen grove in Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado
      We did a hike through aspen groves as the sun peeked through the clouds.

      Missionary Ridge in Durango, Colorado

      Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado
      The next day we drove north along route 550. We stopped near Molas Lake to enjoy the incredible scenery. Mike and Ally wandered along the trail ahead of me.


      I wore my new UCCS t-shirt, in honor of Mike’s new job as a lab manager at the University of Colorado.

      Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado

      Molas Lake in Silverton, Colorado
      Molas Lake, near Silverton, Colorado. I want to come back and camp here, too. Gorgeous!

      Mines near Red Mountain in Colorado
      We passed several old mines, including this one at Red Mountain

      Mines near Red Mountain in Colorado
      Another mine near Red Mountain


      In Ouray we stopped for my essential daily vanilla nonfat latte.

      Ouray, Colorado
      Ouray is a completely adorable little town in a valley, surrounded by jagged, towering cliffs.

      Black Canyon National Park in Colorado
      We headed north to Montrose and Black Canyon National Park.

      Black Canyon National Park in Colorado
      These pictures don’t do it justice — the canyon’s cliffs were 2000 feet tall in places.

      Taylor Reservoir in Colorado
      We headed northeast from Gunnison, to Taylor Reservoir.

      Taylor Reservoir in Colorado

      Taylor Reservoir in Colorado
      Ally was thrilled to be able to fetch tennis balls in the water.

      Taylor Reservoir in Colorado
      She’s so darn cute when she’s all wet.

      Cottonwood Pass in Colorado
      We crossed the Continental Divide at Cottonwood Pass.

      Cottonwood Pass in Colorado

      Sunset over the Collegiate Peaks in Buena Vista
      After dinner in Buena Vista, we watched the sunset over the Collegiate Peaks on our way home.

      It was a wonderful weekend! I wish we could spend a few weeks on vacation here in our state. There is just so much to see and do!

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      COMMENTS

      Wow, those are great pictures. I used to live in Durango. Brings back memories.

      How did I miss these pictures?! My family has a house in Taylor Park and I miss it soooo much! I’ve probably been over Cottonwood pass a thousand times since I was little. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve always loved the view from the top of the pass straight down to the reservoir. It’s so beautiful up there.

      Love the boats! Tamera

      oh Durango! growing up in Albuquerque, my family always did long weekend/fishing trips to Durango – thank you!

      I *love* the photo of Ally with the purple flowers, absolutely awesome shot! So glad you two got away! I was in La Veta and Alamosa this weekend doing the Rio Grande train in between. So nice and relaxing and great weather for beautiful sight seeing!

      oh Durango! growing up in Albuquerque, my family always did long weekend/fishing trips to Durango – thank you!

      I grew up in Durango. Lovely photos.

      I grew up in Durango. Lovely photos.

      Beautiful.

      I recognize, occasionally, Colorado places in your pics. Which makes me happy. Your pics are exceptionally beautiful of those places . . . .

      Best wishes, R

      Lovely photos…I didn’t realize Lupine was as popular out in CO as it is here in Minnesota! It’s an amazing wildflower…ours grow in pink, dark purple, light purple and white…it’s beautiful!

      Glad you guys had a great Holiday weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ You got some great, amazing shots.

      oh man. i adore ouray!

      Thanks! We find ourselves working so much that we need to keep reminding ourselves to get out and see some great stuff!

      I can’t help but grin when I see Ally all wet like that.

      Thanks! It really was. ๐Ÿ™‚

      How cool! I just love that little town!

      I didn’t realize Ouray had hot springs — that must have been a great area for camping. And I agree that the Black Canyon is spectacular! I didn’t even know it existed until very recently.

      I did! But your hawkeyes missed it back in April. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I got six inches cut off and some highlights. It’s a good summer cut, I think.

      I’m so glad the photos helped you relive some of your happy Colorado memories! It really is a wonderful place to live.

      Thanks so much. I do sell photos like these in an online gallery: http://charlottegeary.smugmug.com/gallery/2206357_RNmm7 Unframed 8×10 prints are only about $30, depending on the photo. If you ever see a photo you’d like me to add to that gallery, just let me know. I don’t update it very regularly.

      Wow, that does look like it could be the same spot! It’s a beautiful valley.

      I shoot with Canon 5D DSLRs, and as of yesterday, I now have a 5D Mark II. I don’t know much about Nikon, but if you’re interested in Canon, I can recommmend the 50D/40D/30D series. The 5D series is fantastic, but perhaps more than you’ll need for school.

      You got a haircut! Hehehehe. I have hair hawk eyes. Very cute and bouncy!

      I love “going” on your trips with you.

      i love your photos. not that i have the money right now… but for future reference, how much would you charge for an 8×10 print of one of your ‘leisure’ photos?

      sent via who knows i’m from colorado and miss it a lot. you took absolutely stunning pictures! i have tears in my eyes looking at them.

      i’ve been to many of the locations you went to and i have some lovely memories of many of the places you went to! now you have wonderful memories, too. so does your dog, from the looks of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ congrats on the new locale and the wonderful vacation.

      sent via who knows i’m from colorado and miss it a lot. you took absolutely stunning pictures! i have tears in my eyes looking at them.

      i’ve been to many of the locations you went to and i have some lovely memories of many of the places you went to! now you have wonderful memories, too. so does your dog, from the looks of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ congrats on the new locale and the wonderful vacation.

      My uncle lives outside of Ouray! He loves it there.

      I love these pictures, and I’m glad that you all had a great Fourth.

      I’ve rarely seen a wet dog as cute as Ally.

      you always have such great adventures.

      I think you guys are the cutest family in the whole wide world, I really really do!

      Okay, funny story about this image of yours. I have a feeling it was taken at the very same place I took this photo. We were on our way to Durango for our honeymoon when I took that photo 2 years ago. I love your perspective of it.

      I also had a question, if you don’t mind. I have to upgrade my camera for school and I’m torn on what to get. I often wonder what you shoot with and would love if you’d be willing to share that tidbit with me. Thanks!

      lovely!! Looks like a beautiful adventure!

      Beautiful pictures! And it sounds like you had a wonderful holiday. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Black Canyon is spectacular. Ouray is also famous for their hot springs. On the way from our family reunion (near Co.Spr.) back in Y2K, we saw the Black Canyon and camped in Ouray, just a short distance from the hot springs (where we took a nighttime dip to unwind after a day of driving).

      I love that part of the country, and have spent much quality time driving Route 550.

      you always have such great adventures.

      lovely!! Looks like a beautiful adventure!

      Charlotte Geary

      CHARLOTTE GEARY

      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.

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