Text Reads:
“And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.”



I first learned of this area in the fall of 2022.  I was staying in Durango Colorado and commuting daily a couple hours each way north on route 550 (aka the Million Dollar Highway) to Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway and the Dallas Divide. Route 550 is loaded with photo opportunities as you travel over and through the San Juan chain of the Rocky Mountains.  That was my focus at the time.

However, the above photographic location (closest town being Ridgway) was unknown to me and I missed this great opportunity in 2022.  I drove by the road to this location numerous times but never accessed it. I thought it was prohibited due to all the private ranches in the area, most notably, Ralph Lauren’s infamous 16,000-acre Double RL Ranch.

There are a few dirt county roads leading into this valley and they are the main access to several large private ranches.  Along these roads are miles of fencing with gates, “no trespassing” signs, security/cctv signs, “do not enter” signs and employees on horseback or in vehicles.  There are warnings on the Internet that the security is robust and not to test them.  Everyone I encountered was friendly but then, I was not trespassing.

But, I was captivated by more than just the Dallas Divide.  Vast expanses of ranchland, valleys, aspens, scrub oaks, wildlife and the Rocky Mountains begged for further exploration.  I vowed I would do my homework and return in 2023 — which I did, capturing this image entitled “Abundant Beauty”.

In preparation for the trip, I learned much about what land was public and what was private; and that opened up a whole new world, making this visit much more intimate and rewarding.  I read about the county roads and access points to the ranches.  It remained crystal clear where you were not to trespass.  Still, there were plenty of vantage points for excellent images and this was one of my favorite locations.

What struck me immediately about this scene was how vast is the valley foreground with the expansive San Juan Rockies and Mt. Sneffels as the backdrop.  As I stood there, my eyes wandered back and forth, over and over, wanting to explore all the scene had to offer.  The longer I stood there the more I began to appreciate all the patterns, shapes, colors, sounds, smells and majesty of the scene.

I could hear the mooing of cattle hundreds of yards away reminiscent of a scene from a western movie.  The sweet smells of fall permeated the crisp autumn air.  Far away in the distant foothills, I heard the faint sound of bugling elk.  And just a few yards away, perched on the fence, a song sparrow sang loudly with approval.

With so much to behold, one can’t help imagine what it would be like awakening to such beauty every day all the while appreciating the privilege of standing there, if only for a short time.  You want that memory forever etched in your mind but how??

And then you are rescued by a photograph.