Text Reads:
“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill
made low. The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.



In fall of 2023, for several days I traveled north on route 550 from Durango to the Ridgway Colorado area.  As I documented in 2022, there is an abundance of beauty and photo opportunities along route 550.  However, that was not to be my focus in 2023.   Traveling west on route 62 out of Ridgway, there are several county roads along with the Last Dollar Road worth investigating. You can also access these areas traveling North out of Telluride.

I had been exploring one of those county roads for hours when I pulled off onto the left shoulder in this image.  Originally, I was photographing the valley and peaks from ground level and having finished with that, I was searching for other locations.  It was then I noticed a short trail leading up the hillside behind me.  It was somewhat hidden by vegetation and I did not see it at first.  Soon though I was above the road overlooking this stunning scene.  The trail meandered along a no trespassing fence and I walked back and forth along the it until I settled on this viewpoint.  I loved the sweeping curve of the road gently guiding my eyes through this stunning landscape.

The sun having already set, temperatures began to drop quickly while the sky and clouds developed into beautiful hues.  However, I was feeling pressure to begin the 2.5hour drive back to Durango.  After dark, it would no doubt involve the potential for animal encounters along the way.  But, I stayed anyhow. I had to.  The scene demanded it.

A feeling of Euphoria came over me as I was shooting this breathtaking landscape.  Suddenly, the solitude of my experience was interrupted by the sound of bugling elks and coyotes howling all around me.  Their calls echoed through the valley and they seemed to be everywhere though none were visible to me.  Sharing this moment with them was electrifying.  There is nothing quite like the ethereal sounds of the wild augmenting the beauty that lies before you.  A moment I won’t soon forget.

I stayed until dark and while I drove back to Durango, as expected, there were plenty of animal encounters.  I took it slow and safe all the while reliving the past few hours. When I arrived at the hotel it was late but I stayed in my truck for a while.  I wanted to review the last images of the day on my camera attempting to reassure myself, I captured what I had been remembering.  Thankfully, I did.  If you like it even half as much as me, I will have succeeded.