2020 in Pictures: After driving 14,000 miles and flying nearly 40,000 miles in 2019, I knew I was going to try to cut back on my travels throughout 2020, but holy hell… talk about my hand getting forced. With the exception of one international trip that I slipped in at the beginning of February, this was definitely the year of the staycation.
I’m incredibly lucky that a staycation for me is Colorado and when I wasn’t quarantining at home, I was at least able to get out to hike, backpack, bike, and road trip around a good amount. And between dodging the wildfire smoke as well as the massive hoards of people who flocked to Colorado to escape to the outdoors, I was kind of forced into some different and less-travelled spots that I normally might not have even thought to have gone to.
I have not been on an airplane since February 11, 2020, but I’m very fortunate that most of this past year had been as normal as it could possibly be and that I was able to still do a lot of what I love to do…
2020 in Pictures: Here are my favorite 20 pictures from 2020.
The Collegiate Peaks
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness outside Buena Vista is relatively close to home for me, but for some reason, I just hadn’t explored the range much over the years. I was able to find a spot that I really wanted to backpack to (Jack Brauer inspired, of course) so I set out in hopes to avoid the hoards descending on other areas of the state. It was so awesome, I ended up at the same spot two weekends in a row.
Fancy Lake, Holy Cross Wilderness
For my first overnight of the year, I went in to Fancy Lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness. I not only lucked out with a surprise full moon, but when I hiked up Fancy Pass for sunrise, I was greeted with some super cool inversion from the previous night’s storms.
Upper Colorado River
After the initial lockdowns started to break in May, I began to explore around the Upper Colorado River, a completely underrated and overlooked area close to home.
Rainbow over the Mosquito Range
Sometimes it’s all about luck.
Molas Lake & the Needle Mountains
The night before I was set to head in to the Grenedier Range of the Wemuniche Wilderness in southwestern Colorado, I was out shooting sunset when I was hit dead-on by some unbelievable storms. It was one of the more terrifying experiences I’ve had out in the wilderness and with 60-70% chance of storms predicted over the next 3 nights we were set to be camping, I had decided I was going to bail. This sunrise at Molas Lake the next morning convinced me otherwise.
This was one of the rewards for not bailing on that backpacking trip into the Grenadiers… Possibly one of my all-time favorite backcountry campsites.
Gore Range Camp
An quick overnight at one of my favorite spots deep within the Gore Range.
Grand Teton National Park
During the fall, I went up to Grand Teton National Park to try and chase some wildlife. It turns out wildlife photography is really hard, but at least I got the landscape stuff down.
Mt of the Holy Cross
I had been chasing this shot for a while – Mt of the Holy Cross (14,009′) shot from Notch Mountain (13,100′).
Just another fall in Colorado.
Right before the pandemic was starting, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Indonesia to spend a week on a livaboard dive boat in Raja Ampat in West Papua. I was unfortunately sick with the flu for literally the entire trip, but it was still pretty incredible. (Despite being sick for weeks, I did test-negative for the Covid antibodies.)
Grizzly Creek Fire
I figured this was a fitting image to end this recap with – 2020: the Dumpster Fire.
The American West was ravaged by wildfires this year and Colorado saw it’s worst fire season on record. When not trying to dodge the smoke, I spent a bunch of time chasing wildfires and they are absolutely terrifyingly beautiful to watch. This was the Grizzly Creek Fire outside Glenwood Springs, which at only ~33,000 acres, pales in comparison to the horror and devastation from the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires.