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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As you begin to make the descent toward the town of Ouray you cross over Bear Creek, thundering down the hillside.
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.
Before driving through historic Ouray you stop at this pull-out to take an amazing picture of what is called “The Switzerland of America.”
Beauty everywhere, come and see!
Cliff and Cyndy