Saturday, August 22, 2009

Colorado: August 19, 2009. Travel from Grand Junction to Silverton

Off to Silverton

To get there we need to drive over Red Mountain Pass at 11,120’. The climb to the pass starts in Ouray at 7780’ and climbs the 3340’ in about 12 miles. A beautiful drive, but a winding 2 lane road with steep drop offs. It was a fun, but challenging drive for me.

A few pictures of the drive to the pass:

Driving across the plains we see the mountains we are going to in the distance

In the valley ahead is Ouray. They call the town Little Switzerland because of the steep mountains which surround the town.

Sharon was nice enough to take these pictures while I was driving.

This what Sharon saw outside her side window. These are pictures Sharon took while we were driving, not stopped looking over the edge. She must be brave to look out the window!

When this sign said 10mph, it meant it!

On the way down the other side.

A few scenic views from the road across the pass

Our destination today is a boondocking area along South Mineral Creek about 5 miles NW of Silverton.

We are in a beautiful mountain valley at 9500 feet.

A couple of pictures of our camp.

We are in what the National Forests call a disbursed camping area. Generally in National Forests, disbursed camping is allowed along the Forest Service roads as long as you camp at least 50 yards off of the road. Since South Mineral Creek is such a popular area the NF set aside three areas designated as disbursed camping areas (free camping). Also at the end of the road we are on is a NF developed campground with assigned campsites, a campground host, and fresh water spigots scattered around the campgound. There is also a $20/night camping fee. However almost all the campsites in the campground are in the trees, so you can't see the pretty mountains and sky.

We prefer to stay in disbursed camping places. Usually we find peace and solituded and beautiful views. As noted above a lot of the developed campgrounds have a lot of trees.

When we arrived at South Mineral Creek on Wednesday, there were a few campers in the designated camping areas. As usual come Friday afternoon the weekend campers come in. Sunday morning, this is what our camping area looks like.

So much for peace and solitude! All the campers who came in are well behaved and are enjoying there weekend out in the cool mountains. Come this evening many of the weekenders will be gone. Many times come Sunday evening we are the only campers left and we are back to our peace and solitude.

Here is a 3D map of the valley we are in. The camp is at 9500' surrounded by 12 & 13 thousand foot peaks.

That's all for now. Until later,

Al & Sharon

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