When people hear I’m from Colorado they often ask me about the Denver area. The truth is, we are 6 hours driving from Denver. It’s a big state, with lots of mountains in between.
The western slope of Colorado is the least populated area of the state, although rapidly being discovered. In 1979 the Eisenhower tunnel was finalized, to carry Interstate I-70 under the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. The tunnel created a trans-continental access through the state of Colorado, and opened up the western side of the state to greater access.
My son’s great grandfather, Kenneth Anderson, flew the Hump in World War II, and still lives in Colorado Springs today. Among his many incredible stories, are those of driving through Glenwood Canyon when the road was low and the Colorado River was high. Although the roads are much better now, it’s still a haul to get to where we live.
Despite all of the amazing places we camped: Glacier Park, The Cascades, The Grand Canyon – the place that won my heart was the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
As a climber, I’m glad I tackled these mountains in my younger years, because I’m not sure I could stomach the quality of the loose rock at this time in life. Because they are more rugged, these mountains are incredibly beautiful. There are breathtaking 14,000′ peaks. There’s a lifetime of exploring to be done here. Within my twenty years of exploring them, there are still areas I haven’t touched. Areas I long to see. I love this place.
Painting this mountain range was a tribute to the San Juans. Kyle and Kim wanted an eight foot painting, which is the largest I have done. Coupled with the complex landscape, the painting was a challenge for sure. In the end, they loved it. It is truly a piece of my heart, and a labor of love.
This video is a snapshot of the process. Enjoy!