Monday, August 12, 2013

The Second Week in the San Juan's

The rains continue. The rain, high altitude and lack of hookups drove our friends off the mountain to more agreeable and familiar territory. We decided to stay and wait out the monsoon. Frankly, right now there is no cool place within a thousand miles that we care to go. The next time we come to Silverton we will come in fire season and take our chances. Anywho, the chance of rain is less than 50% for the next six days and then goes to zero for a few days. And so it goes.

Want to see some really great pictures of this area? Then you should spend some time on Box Canyon Blog. We got to meet the author, Mark, and his wife, Bobbie, last week at their home in Ouray. I wanted to find out if he talks the way he writes. [Only Bill Buckley and Victor Hanson come to mind] Mark and Bobbie are obsessive hikers and have the extremely poor taste to be both retired and physically fit. Here is his pictures looking down on Chimney Rock. Our view of the same was from below with clouds surrounding the upper part of the masts in the sky.

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At the home of Box Canyon Mark in lovely Ouray. Nice View Huh?

Chicken Picante

Fried eggs blacks beans tomatillo sauce with avacados

Good eating in Dorothy's Kitchen Place. Cursor over picture to see what it is.

Wednesday, August 7 - The rain is here and I am not a happy camper at this time.  We had new neighbors come in yesterday afternoon.  One couple is very nice.  One turned on his generator and we were told they did not turn it off until midnight.  It was back on at 7:00 and when I talked to him, he said he plans to run it off and on all day.  How rude - if you have to run a generator all of the time, at least have the decency to move to a place where you don't disturb others.  We all moved away from them.

John and Mary Jane have to be back home in Nevada by the end of the month, so they plan to leave tomorrow looking for sightseeing in the sun - don't blame them.  They took us out to dinner tonight to the Brown Bear Cafe and it was very good.  They are good camping buddies and we are sorry that we are not able to spend more time with them.

Thursday, August 8 - We said goodbye to John and Mary Jane.  It really was good to see them again. We didn't do anything because it was overcast all day, but we only had light sprinkles.  More campers came in today but the weather is not conducive to sitting outside and chatting around the campfire.

Friday, August 9 - Woke up to blue skies!  We went jeeping on Black Bear Pass.  We can only go to the summit because the road becomes impossible after that in a Jeep like Pelli.  But we had great views.  There is another dirt road that I have been wanting to take.  It doesn't have a name, but we decided to go on the excursion.  It was interesting with a couple of water falls.  Also there are old mining relics, of course.

Pass Black BearBlack Bear looking eastLooking east from Black Bear. You may have seen the Jeep commercial that was made here last year.


For the last two decades, I have spent 83% of my waking hours enjoying the freedom of not owning a cellphone, 5% feeling smug about it, 2% in situations in which a phone would have been awfully convenient and 10% fielding incredulous questions.

This spring I scumbed to my wife's need for me to have a cell phone so she could call me during those 20 hours a month we are not together. I thought it might be useful on our trips, but Sprint does not have much of a nationwide network. I suppose for $9 a month one should not expect much. The phone has not been turned on for two months.

For those addicted, I will quote Thoreau that things "are more easily acquired than got rid of".

Saturday, August 10 - Clear blue skies at 7am. We hustled off to Animas Forks. Dorothy likes to wander through old buildings and there are several there. Someone, Forest Service?, is restoring the homes. New roofs and siding. I scanned the ridges for goats while she got her ghost town fix. Then we repeated a drive we took the last time we were here. Up California Pass and down Corkscrew Gulch. It's not a technical drive, but route has great views, especially of the red mountains.

Along the way we saw three large flocks of sheep. Probably around 800 in each flock. They spend the summer grazing in the high hills. We only saw one sheep dog and no herders.

The sky was threatening as we came down. We had lunch in Ouray and drove back to Silverton. It was rainy until about 6, then it cleared up on our level, but sleeted above 10,000 feet leaving the peaks with a white coat.


Pass California

Pass California2

Sheep Dog 2013

This is a working dog?

Red MountainsRed Mountain #2

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Corkscrew Gulch

Sunday, August 11 - Blue skies until 4pm. We tried the Porphyry Gulch trail. When Dorothy saw the narrow shelf road, she said no way. And I was not going to tumble down the slope without her, so we walked up, huffing and puffing, to this viewpoint.

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As you can see there is plenty of room. I don't know why Dorothy objected or why this woman got out of the Jeep with her daughter. OK, OK, there would have been less room for us, as I would have had to put the wheels on the very edge to be able to get over some rocks in the middle of the road. The lifted Jeep in the photo did not have to worry about wheel placement.

We did laundry in the afternoon.

Monday, August 12 - A lot of clouds in the morning,  but I wanted to try to get some shots of the jagged peaks that can be seen on the east side of the Ophir Road. I figured that it would rain before long, but it would pass. I was half right. As we got to Ophir Pass we were in a hail storm. We almost felt a little sorry for the motorcycle riders who were massed with us at the summit. I was right in that it passed over in less than 20 minutes and we had an hour of wonderful sunlight before the next set of clouds arrived. We got back to base camp just as the next rain came.

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Along The Ophir Road

We plan to leave here Sunday and meet our RV Tech near Antonito for annual maintenance and to figure out why the refer is mis-behaving. Then where? No clue.


  1. Some beautiful country. We've been to Silverton but have never spent any time in the area. We'll have to include the area in one of our upcoming trips.

  2. Wonderful pictures. I especially like the ones of the two of you.

  3. Can you breath up there at 12,900 feet?