On the Silverton side of Red Mountain Pass we hung a near U-turn right on a winding, but sedan-passable, dirt road. Less than 4 miles later Bobbie and I were on the trail to Paradise, from all appearances little known and seldom used.
is another man's bilgewater. But Paradise Basin is such a magical place, a cirque, crowned with such seductive spires and intrigue that one would be hard pressed to find a single soul who could dispute its deserving moniker.
|Paradise Basin lies at the foot of that rocky ridge line in the distance|
The trail comes and goes, like the day's puffy clouds that go from threatening, to benign, and back to threatening.
Somewhere along the ridge line in the above photo, we will attempt to breach its defenses...just to see what's on the other side.
It has become a "game" of sorts, to ascend into basins above timberline, pick a random saddle, and try to guess what's on the other side...without reference to a map or app, of course, just based on our growing collection of "dots."
The saddle in the above photo was one we climbed on our last trip to Paradise Basin. With some tricky maneuvering, we were able to look down on Crystal Lake, Ophir Pass, the little mountain town of Ophir, and then westward, all the way to the La Sal Mountains in Utah.
So on this trip to Paradise, we needed some new "dots," a "surprise view." We chose the south ridge line (see red dot below entitled" Our Ridge Line Goal). As usual, it turned out to be steeper than it looked, but, as usual, well worth the struggle.
|Google Earth image of Paradise Basin, and the close proximity of goal-worthy explorations|
|From the uppermost basin, a small lake still clings to winter with a shrinking iceberg floating dead-center.|
|A pause to look back at a vast moraine and catch breath...|
|Four wheel drive is engaged far above "Iceberg Lake."|
Of course the tundra steepens, just enough to make the climb more interesting.
|Back to two-wheel drive...|
|Light and shadow frolic across the landscape. Wildflowers proliferate.|
Just before cresting our saddle objective, I asked Bobbie what she thought we would see on the other side. She guessed, Clear Lake. I had no idea. Sure enough, there was Clear Lake.
With previous posts in mind, take moment to take another look at the Google Map several photos up. It gives you an idea of how close, yet how completely different, each individual basins can be. Within the innumerable basins are multiple ridge lines and saddles that offer contrasting views and perspectives, not to mention rewards for curios wanderers... ideas for further exploration and "dot" connecting.
|Our ridge line saddle...pretty nice.|
|Just beyond/below the rust-colored gap to the right side of the above photo is Island and Ice Lakes...according to mapographer Bobbie's calculations|
|Now Bobbie checks the map looking for new dots to connect|
In spite of the "clear all day" forecast, dark clouds and a rumble of thunder sneaks up behind us.
Panorama: Scroll →
“Paradise was always over there, a day’s "sail" away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life.”
n this day, at least, we had Paradise all to ourselves. It was a unique perspective, to be able to see Clear Lake from the top down instead of at eye level.
Feeling small in Paradise...