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Isabelle reveals nothing
Blue Sky, blue water
— Kasie McGee
Lake Isabelle, one of over 50 lakes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, sits below Navajo, Apache and Shoshoni Peaks in north–central Colorado. To the south, looking west, Navajo Peak is the classic cone-shaped mountain at 13,409 feet, with a sharply pointed summit and the permanent Navajo Snowfield on its northwest side. Shoshoni Peak is the “tilted” mountain you see on the right, with Apache Peak, at 13,441 feet, back there in the middle with its broad summit. The snowfield you see partially hidden on its northeast flank is Isabelle Glacier, an incredible spot that is two miles beyond and 1200 feet up from Lake Isabelle. The Indian Peaks became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1978. Many of the peaks within the area are named for American Indian tribes of the west. The area stretches approximately 18 miles north/south and 15 miles east/west at its widest point, and is located just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. Elevations range from 8,300 to just over 13,500 feet above sea level, and comprise some of the nation’s most splendid landscapes.
At 10,868 feet, Lake Isabelle is a stunning example of a crystalline mountain lake sitting in the shadow of the Continental Divide, and it did not disappoint during one summer morning I visited. When I arrived before sunrise, the air was calm, the reflection of the mountains on the water complete. As is often the case there during the middle of the week at first light, I could discern not a single human soul there other than my own. It seemed as if all of Creation were still at that moment, so overpowering was the silence in that glorious cathedral. As the sun rose behind me I took many photos, hoping at least I had one image that was worthy of the moment. Finally, after nearly an hour of gorging on this embarrassment of scenic riches, I packed my gear and prepared to head up to Pawnee Pass. Suddenly a cool breeze wafted down from the mountains. Silently I could see it coming toward me on the lake as it slowly overwhelmed what seconds earlier had been a perfect reflection. When it reached two-thirds across, I captured this image. A minute later the reflection was all but gone.
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
Roosevelt National Forest
The photo was made using a Canon EOS-1V body, EF 35mm 1.4L lens at f/16, 1/4 second exposure, with Fuji Velvia 50 film.