The Lost Lake and the Bear (2022)

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

I joined my friend Mason Cummings for a trip we've both been eyeballing for years - an off-trail exploration of a remote drainage in the nearby Weminuche Wilderness Area we both frequent. Ever since I saw this particular lake on the USGS Topo in 2007, I knew I wanted to know what it was like there... the problem is, there's no trail to this basin and its extremely remote and access is quite steep and inhospitable...

Well, we pulled it off. We originally wanted a view west at sunset of the Needles but the weather forecast shifted and we had to hustle to get this sunset in.

So, we started at 2 PM on a nice September Thursday, hiked 11 miles on-trail to the drainage intersection, stayed the night, got up at 6 AM to start the grueling off-trail hike with heavy packs up the drainage, gaining about 5,000 feet, and reached the lake at around 1 PM. We set-up camp, ate dinner, and then climbed to the summit of this 13,000 ft. peak to witness this nice sunset. We had unfortunately just missed some really rare gap light to the west of us; however, the ubiquitous cloud cover offered some nice diffusion of the entire area, which enabled some nice glow on the peak to our northeast. We thought about climbing to the summit of that peak on the right the next morning, but it rained all night and we woke up to being completely socked in.

The view of the Needles to the west at sunrise will have to wait for another adventure in the future!

Some pretty incredible stats for this particular trip, which included me carrying all of my backpacking gear, my 14-24 lens, my 24-105 lens, and my 70-200 lens.

3 days, 32.1 miles, 5,772' elevation gain, 17 hours of moving time, off-trail bushwhacking for 11 miles total on steep terrain.

This was all pretty encouraging for me since I had just gotten over COVID and was very concerned I would not be able to pull it off, but I felt great!

Hope you like this one, trying to get more to my roots in the mountains when I can!

P.S. the title of the image is an homage to the names of the lake and mountain, Lost Lake and Mount Oso.



Photo © copyright by Matt Payne.

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TruLife Acrylic Fine Art Masterpiece

TruLife Acrylic Fine Art Masterpiece

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ChromaLuxe Fine Art Metal Print

The Lost Lake and the Bear (2022) print

ChromaLuxe Metal Prints are a fantastic budget-conscious fine art print option that preserves high details and color-rendition without sacrificing on quality. Each print's edges are finished to provide a smooth presentation and all four edges are rounded to prevent snags and cuts. Metal prints are very glossy and can reflect ambient light. They are ideal in locations with low natural light and good directional light from above.

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The Lost Lake and the Bear (2022) print

Your fine art photography artwork is printed on beautiful Sunset Select Hot Press Fine Art Paper. This is by far my favorite paper print to use for fine art printing. It has a really nice rag texture and presents details in a stunning way. Prints are shipped rolled in a tube and should be taken directly to your framer to prevent unintentional damage.

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