Owl Creek Pass

June 25, 2016

When you open the admin side of our blog the first screen that comes up is the stats for the blog – how many people have looked at it, the number of comments made, etc. What struck me is the date for our last posting and it was 2 weeks ago. I am sorry, dear and faithful readers! We don’t mean to forget about you, we just get busy with our life and we have developed a routine pattern to our work days (F, Sa, Su, M, T) and adventure/errand days for our days off (W, Th). The state park is getting much busier with weekends full, leaving no spots for anyone without reservations and a full campground stretches the campground hosts, park staff and rangers to the max (but in a good way). We love it here and enjoy meeting the campers and hearing about what brought them to Ridgway.

Last week on our adventure day we took a 4 wheel drive road up to Owl Creek Pass. It was breathtaking, both the road and the scenery. I wondered if someone from OSHA ever drove this road if there would be guard rails up the next day? It felt similar to the old Lariat Trail up Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bill’s grave. OK, How many of you even know what I am talking about (we will see how many readers we have that grew up in Colorado)? Here are a few pictures from our drive:

Owl Creek Pass 01 Owl Creek Pass 04 Owl Creek Pass 03 Owl Creek Pass 02

We ran out of time but figured we would head back anther day with our picnic lunch and make it to the reservoir that eluded us on this trip.

Our adventure days this week were spent running errands and getting our phone carrier switched and that included getting new phones. We have mentioned this before, our cell and wifi coverage is sketchy in the locations where we volunteer and here in Ridgway we have big time issues. So we gave up, switched carriers and can now make phone calls whenever we want in any part of the trailer or park. That is assuming we have figured out how to make calls on the new phones – might be best if you call us for a bit!

Happy Summer, Cliff and Cyndy



June 9, 2016

Summertime in the Rockies! The wildflowers, the intense blue sky in the morning, the afternoon showers that bring delightful evenings, the camping and the smell of wood fires – we are enjoying all of these things. We are settling into our jobs and the life of the park and finding out that if you work with reservations for the Colorado State Parks you probably have a crazy job. Most of the camper issues center around a foiled reservation or one that the camper wants to change (days or location). Most of the citations issued are about leaving a fire unattended, driving too fast or damaging the forest by taking down a tree for firewood. It is a mix of meeting wonderful people, families and a few rotten eggs that just take more work for everyone!

We did manage to get a few days off over Memorial Day to attend the wedding of my son David and his beautiful bride, Christine. The wedding was at Snow Mtn. Ranch near Fraser, CO and as you can see the weather cooperated for a few hours on Sunday afternoon for the ceremony. We spent the weekend with family and friends and enjoyed being in the mountains on the other side of the state.

wedding 01

My sister Deb and brother-in-law Mike returned to Ridgway with us and became our official first visitors! We did not have any time off but Deb, Mike and dog Beau are pretty self-sufficient and went off mountain biking and touristing every day. We had evenings for dinner, conversation and watching movies. It was a great week!

There are lots of birds in the park. We told you about the 3 baby owls in the tree by our trailer in the last blog installment. Now those babies are getting flying and hunting lessons from mom and dad and they have moved around to the other side of our trailer. We caught sight of a very large owl just sitting and watching our trailer and it made both of us nervous about letting our cat Zoe out.

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The other birds we see every day are the pesky bluebirds. The ones that sit on the truck mirrors and then get so excited when they see themselves in the mirror that they poop all over the mirrors. Cliff has been pulling the mirrors in at night and that seems to keep them off, now we just need to remember to bring the mirrors in!

We used up our days off for the wedding so this week we were back on schedule with Wednesday and Thursday off. We decided to head to Silverton on Wednesday. As in many places, summer time is road repair time. We waited about 20 minutes in this spot and about 10 minutes in another spot. The drive was spectacular but we expected to be wowed because they call this highway, The Million Dollar Highway. It is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway and it takes you over Red Mountain Pass.

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The town of Silverton is the destination for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and brings lots of tourists to town. This shot was taken just before the train arrived and it looked very different a few minutes later!

Silver 02

We had our pick of lunch places and we settled on the Avalanche Brew Pub. Lunch did not disappoint and we were soon on our way looking through the town. Cliff did a little shopping and we shared an ice cream before we headed home. From Silverton you head north on highway 550 to the top of Red Mountain Pass.  There are over 100 mines on the mountain and you see evidence of it in every direction.

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As you begin to make the descent toward the town of Ouray you cross over Bear Creek, thundering down the hillside.

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This road makes Trail Ridge Road look like child’s play. Similar to Trail Ridge, there are no guardrails on the road and if you are drive south up the mountain you do a lot of praying.

There are hundreds of waterfalls and this one was so spectacular that I had to stop and take its picture.

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Before driving through historic Ouray you stop at this pull-out to take an amazing picture of what is called “The Switzerland of America.”

Silver 01

Beauty everywhere, come and see!

Cliff and Cyndy