I knew the hike was rated as *strenuous and I knew it would be a long hike. It's all switchbacks at a solid incline up to almost 11,000 feet. I didn't realize how hard it would be to acclimate to the elevation change and it slowed me down greatly. I'd planned to hike and photograph the Blue Lakes of Colorado now for over a year and I knew it would exceptional if I could time the monsoon season around it. I had to see it. I was one of the most difficult things I've ever done and tested every single ounce of strength I had, emotionally and physically. I know what I'm all about now. As the clouds moved in, I made my move but quickly got way behind with the time. After hours of heavy downpour (I left my rain poncho in my SUV), nerve-wrecking close lightening that I could see hitting around me, hail, wind and thunder, I arrived at this spot at 4PM. Ironically, the rain stopped and a bit of light permitted the shot. Something I worried about through the hike while often standing under isolated trees to stay dry. The heavy backpack, severe weather and starting to succumb to signs of altitude sickness with dizziness and nausea, I wanted to quit and turn around but when you strip away the entire ego the only voice left kept saying, "You can it, don't let yourself down". At 4PM, as I took the shots (not many as I had to leave quickly) I'd had to cross the slick river to center my shot. Cold, wet, sick but with a huge smile on my face and it was as beautiful as I'd always believed it would be. The sky was just how I imagined it would be. It was ALL worth it.