My first trip to the Beartooth Pass- July 24, 2016
Ross Perkins (@wanderlustnotless) taking in the sunset views of the Beartooth Pass
The Beartooth Pass, 11,000 ft. elevation, the ceiling of Montana, and as a lifelong resident of Montana 2016 was the first time I had laid eyes on the glacier carved valleys and endless plateaus that stretched into the sky. A reoccurring theme in this blog will be the fact that before I picked up my camera I feel that I took my surroundings for granted. The Beartooth Pass is about 3 hours from where I grew up, yet I had never made the relatively short drive to take in the views. What spurred my last minute decision to go?? A wedding in Denver and the fact that the pass is kind of near the route back home.
The weekend of July 23rd was my first wedding shoot of the year, and it took myself , my second shooter Ross Perkins (@wanderlustnotless), and his brother Jared to Golden, Colorado. We knocked out the wedding, had a great time, got some killer shots for our friend, all while knowing the following morning we were hitting the road to get to the Beartooth Pass for sunset.
The nearest town to the pass is Red Lodge, Montana, an awesome little town with some great restaurants and bars and a lively little downtown, we set course and got the 8 hour drive to the small town underway. After arriving we checked into our small hotel room quick knowing that light was fading fast and we needed to book it up the pass to catch final light. Dinner on the pass sounded nice so we ran to the grocery store, picked up some fried chicken (guilty pleasure) and sped up the highway full of switchbacks that took us up to 10,000 plus ft.
Our first stop when we reached the pass was the overlook above Twin Lakes. I love having people in some of my shots just to give a sense of scale, there is no way one photo can translate the immensity of this place. The two alpine lakes below glimmered blue as the sun started to fade and we ran down the hill side to get a good view of the valley below. Definitely a place I would like to backpack to next summer when the snow is finally melted.
Light was fading fast so we traveled up the road a little further to the most scenic part of the pass where we would sit and enjoy our fried chicken, snap a few shots, and wait for the sun to disappear behind the mountains. The shot above was the final shot from that sunset, after this we sat around, ate our chicken,drank a couple beers and just took it all in. Sometimes the moments after you are running around like a crazy person snagging all the shots you can are the ones you remember just as vividly as the photos you took. We made our way down the switchback highway to Red Lodge caught a couple Z's and made our way back up the pass for sunrise.
Ross caught a shot of a couple mountain goats that morning as I was somewhere up the hill in one spot waiting for the sun to poke up and start to warm me up. The photo below captures the first moment when the sun poked over the East side the range, giving me a little warmth. I put the camera away shortly after and sat on a large boulder and just wondered how this landscape in front of me came to be, the millions of years it took the sheets of ice to carve out these valleys, the boulders they left behind, and how lucky I was to be there in those moments when the sun set and sun rose on a place that seen dinosaurs, early explorers, and now myself.
Follow along on my adventures!