The force of nature is not one to be reckoned with in Colorado.

Lake City-based photographer Michael Underwood shows the power of mother nature on display in then-and-now photographs taken along Cottonwood Creek Road near the Cuba Gulch trailhead.

This first photo, captured in August of 2018, shows an aerial shot flying above a lush green forest of aspens along Cottonwood Creek road. The second photo, taken approximately 7 months later at the exact location, shows hundreds if not thousands of destroyed aspens after the impacts of avalanche activity and deep snow. Note the large boulder near the center of each image for orientation and scale.

Aspen trees, Cottonwood Creek road near the Cuba Gulch trailhead. August 2018, Photo Credit: Michael Underwood.
Aspen trees destroyed from avalanche activity, Cottonwood Creek road near the Cuba Gulch trailhead, taken 7 months later from the first photograph, Photo Credit: Michael Underwood.

An avalanche can exert deadly force, snapping trees like toothpicks, burying forests in heavy piles of snow, and completely wiping out everything that stands in its path.

Cottonwood Creek road will remain closed to the public until salvage operations are complete and hazard trees have been fully removed from the sides of the road. In addition to the temporary closure of this popular mountain road, several trails, roads, and backpacking destinations will be inaccessible until mid-July due to snow, avalanche debris, and other natural hazards. Grab all the details here.

Find Michael’s work available for purchase on his website.

Leave a Reply

What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More