Cerulean Tarn

Cerulean TarnJust when you think you have seen every color there is to see, there is always another one waiting for you. Nature keeps you on toes, if only you know where to look.

This is Ice Lake, located in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan mountains, at the top of Ice Lake Basin. The colors are completely natural, and the lake sports this gorgeous shade of cerulean, a color somewhere between blue and cyan, and as reasonable description as you will find. Colorado has just a handful of truly blue lakes, this being one of them, and the color, almost florescent, defines the imagination. The color comes from the water itself, which contains a very high concentration of glacial flour. The flour is created from glaciers grinding down the bedrock into a fine powder, or flour. This flour is suspended in the water column, giving the lake this cerulean color.

Overall, this is not a big lake, but you don’t have to be huge to be incredibly gorgeous. It sits above the tree line, up at the very top of Ice Lake Basin, and requires a fairly strenuous hike to reach it, with a three thousand foot elevation gain along the way. It seems like you are walking to the top of the Rocky Mountains, and, in fact, you are. The lake sits at over twelve thousand feet, making a wonderfully high alpine lake. There is something amazing about all alpine lakes, but blue alpine lakes are especially beautiful and this one, perhaps, the most amazing of them all.

The day this photograph was made turned out to be absolutely perfect, and the summer thunderstorms were just beginning to build. A little while later, heavy clouds rolled in, taking the sunlight away. Yet, the lake still glowed its mystical cerulean, thanks to the extraordinary forces of glaciers.

Ice Lake, with its hues of cerulean is not soon forgotten.

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